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Astros introduce Dusty Baker as new manager

Baker takes over about one month before the team is set to report for Spring Training.

HOUSTON — Dusty Baker was introduced Thursday as the manager of the Houston Astros. He was introduced alongside team owner Jim Crane.

“I believe Dusty is the right person at the right time,” Crane said. "We're absolutely thrilled to have him here."

Crane helped Baker put on his No. 12 jersey to kick off the introduction.

The 70-year-old Baker becomes the oldest manager in the big leagues. He said Houston's coaching staff will remain in place.

He takes over from A.J. Hinch, who was fired Jan. 13 just an hour after he was suspended for the season by Major League Baseball for his role in Houston’s sign-stealing scandal.

Baker addressed the scandal during his introduction.

"This is a new beginning. A new beginning for us. A new beginning for me," Baker said.

Baker’s hiring is a sign the American League champions want to add a veteran presence to a franchise reeling from the dismissal of Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow. The Astros have yet to name a new general manager.

Baker said his biggest concern for the team was starting pitching and who was going to fill Gerrit Cole's shoes.

"Who's going to take Gerrit Cole's spot? A spot of excellence. Every team I've been on, I always look for a surprise person to come through, a young player who figures something out over the winter. .. I always leave a spot open for a surprise," Baker said.

Baker, who last managed the Washington Nationals, said he was rooting for the Astros to win the 2019 World Series.

"Don't tell the Nationals, but I was rooting for this team to beat the Nationals," Baker said.

During his introduction, Baker reminded everyone that he's been coming to Houston for a long time, not only as a manager but a player as well.

"I actually got my first hit in the Astrodome 1972 against Jerry Royce," Baker said.

Houston's first Spring Training game is Feb. 22.

Watch the entire introduction below.

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