PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks fired manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Josh Byrnes on Thursday night in a shakeup at the top of a team cemented in last place in the NL West for the second year in a row.
Diamondbacks bench coach and ex-major league slugger Kirk Gibson will take over as interim manager for a ballclub that was 31-48, 15 1/2 games back of San Diego entering Thursday's games.
Team president Derrick Hall called the dismissals "a first and major step in the re-evaluation of our team."
The 35-year-old Hinch was promoted May 7, 2009. Despite having no managerial experience at any level, he was moved from the front office to manager following the firing of Bob Melvin. Hinch has two years remaining on his contract after this season.
Hinch is the fourth manager to lose his job this season. Florida's Fredi Gonzalez, Baltimore's Dave Trembley and Kansas City's Trey Hillman have also been fired.
Byrnes, once considered a rising star among young baseball executives, has a whopping 5 1/2 years left on a deal that runs through 2015.
Former major league pitcher Jerry DiPoto, vice president for player development, will take over the GM duties on an interim basis.
In a statement issued Thursday night, Arizona managing partner Ken Kendrick called the firings "a significant decision, but one that we find necessary in order to achieve a direction of winning consistently on the field again."
The team scheduled a Friday news conference to discuss the move.
Gibson's name is as recognizable as Hinch's was obscure, as much as anything for one of baseball's most dramatic home runs.
He hit .268 with 255 home runs, 870 RBIs and 284 stolen bases in 17 seasons as a major league outfielder with Detroit, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City and Pittsburgh.
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