By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Baseball Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels have hired Phil Nevin as manager for the 2023 season, removing his interim title and giving him a one-year contract Wednesday before the final game of the regular season.
The Angels will miss the playoffs for an eighth straight year. Nevin was promoted from third-base coach when Joe Maddon was fired in June with the Angels mired in what became a club-record 14-game losing streak.
″It certainly means a lot,” Nevin said. “It wasn’t exactly how I envisioned these things happening, but I know I’ve been given a heck of an opportunity with some special people that I’ve created relationships with now for the last six, seven months.”
Nevin learned he got the job when general manager Perry Minasian reached out Tuesday night.
“Called into the principal’s office, and I’ve been on the wrong end of those a lot,” Nevin said. “As he’s telling me, he’s starting to build up, I could sense where he was going.”
Now, Nevin’s challenge will be to help guide the Angels back to winning — and his players seem to believe he can be the one to do it.
“It’s been great. The guys in this clubhouse trust and rely on him,” slugger Mike Trout said after hitting his 40th home run in a 3-2 season-ending loss to the Athletics. “Nev knows the game. He’s worked hard to get here, and it means a lot to him.”
Los Angeles went 46-60 under the 51-year-old Nevin. He made headlines in June when he was suspended for 10 games following a brawl against the Mariners in Anaheim when opener Andrew Wantz intentionally threw at Jesse Winker.
Superstar two-way player Shohei Ohtani credited Nevin for keeping the club going.
“I felt like he was kind of thrown into the situation,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “I felt like he did as well as he could, got us as many wins as possible. I felt like players were with him and gave him all their best.”
Nevin became emotional and teary before the final game against the Athletics, pausing in the dugout before expressing his appreciation for the opportunity.
“There’s a lot of special people involved in this,” Nevin said.
Keeping Nevin provides some needed stability for Los Angeles heading into an offseason of uncertainty with owner Arte Moreno planning to sell the team.
“It’s a great day,” rookie catcher and top prospect Logan O’Hoppe said shortly before first pitch.
Ohtani can become a free agent after the 2023 season, potentially leaving the franchise little time left to capitalize on having him and three-time AL MVP Mike Trout on the roster.
“From where we’ve come, I feel like where we’re at right now, you can see the light, if you will,” Nevin said. “A lot of times, when you’re first time given these opportunities, you’re walking into a place — it’s rebuilding, expectations are low for a while, but ours aren’t. I got some of the best players in the world. I know there’s going to be a good support group around them.”
AP Freelance Writer Sonja Chen contributed to this report.
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