Arizona Diamondbacks – Hale, Green having tough seasons

Chip Hale ( Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Chip Hale ( Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

Chip Hale, manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, retains a strong friendship with Andy Green, the Padres’ skipper

SAN DIEGO – The mentoring ended months ago, but the friendship between Chip Hale, manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego skipper Andy Green seems pretty much cemented.

Rivals during the season, Green grew up in the Diamondbacks’ organization, and was Hale’s trusted third coach and infielder instructor last season. When Green was given the manager’s job of the Padres last October 20, he brought baseball acumen cultivated after 12 years with the Arizona organization.

Despite the associations and shared teaching abilities, there remains a little communication between the two during the season. Separated by distance and responsibility, both Hale and Green have traversed through difficult seasons, but rely on their own organization for support and guidance.

Occasionally, the two will meet prior to a game and exchange words. There’s nothing to give away the keys to the kingdom or otherwise jeopardize their ability to govern and manager a game.

“It’s been a tough year for Chip and his expectations and our expectations were not met,” Green said prior to Saturday’s game with the Diamondbacks in Petco Park. “We really don’t have much dialogue and really don’t speak very much during the season. I have a great deal of respect for Chip, and wish him well.”

Green’s history with the Diamondbacks’ organization is well documented. In four seasons managing with rookie-level Missoula and Mobile, he compiled a 219-188 record. Green was named the Southern League manager of-the-year for both 2013 and 2014 with the BayBears. Promoted to the major league level, Green ended up in the third base coaching box in Chase Field. Responsible for infield shifts and positioning, Green was also a valuable asset for Hale in directly traffic from the third base line.

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After the Padres fired Bud Black early in the 2015 season, and former Arizona State University coach Pat Murphy filled out the season as interim manager, the search for a new skipper quickly ended with the appointment of Green last October.

As the season progressed, the Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks slowly sunk to the bottom of the National League Western Division standings, and changes became imminent.

First, the Padres dealt outfielder Matt Kemp to the Braves and right-hander James Shields to the Chicago White Sox on June 4. As well, the Arizona Diamondbacks traded two-thirds of the back end of their bullpen. Closer Brad Ziegler was dealt to the Boston Red Sox and Tyler Clippard traded to the New York Yankees.

Still, the season for both Hale and Green borders on the unforgettable. Already, discussion has centered about re-tooling for the 2017 season. For now, both managers continue to wax positive for the days ahead, but keep their distance.

“We’ll occasionally talk about our families, but that’s about it,” Hale said prior to Saturday’s game. “We know the season is a grind. When we took these jobs, we realized there would be good times and bad times. For me, I look at the game we have directly for that day, and then probably look at the big picture when the season is over.”

Until next spring

Before Saturday’s game, Hale said shortstop Nick Ahmed will undergo season-ending surgery to repair an impingement in his right hip. Surgery is expected in the coming week.

On Friday, Ahmed was on the Petco Field infield taking ground balls. Afterward, he told Hale that he could not drive to drive and felt little power in his throws. The decision was made to shut Ahmed down, have the surgery, and make sure he is fully recovered for spring training.

“Nick is one of the top defensive players in the league,” Hale said. “At times, we saw what his bat could do, but over the past month, he said he had no power coming off his back foot.”

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Ahmed finished the season with a .218 batting average, four homers and 21 RBIs in 90 games. Overall, he was 62-for-284 and scored 26 runs. His spot at shortstop will likely be split between Chris Owings and Jean Segura.