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BACKMAN'S ARIZONA TENURE IS SHORT-LIVED

Just four days after he was introduced as Arizona Diamondbacks manager, Wally Backman was fired Friday following revelations he was arrested twice and struggled with financial problems.

Former Seattle manager Bob Melvin will replace Backman. Melvin, fired by the Mariners the day after the season ended, was Bob Brenly's bench coach on Arizona's World Series championship team of 2001.

Arizona's management had been unaware of Backman's problems until they were reported in Tuesday's editions of the New York Times. Diamondbacks officials said they failed to do a criminal or financial background check on Backman.

"It's obviously a mistake on our part to have made a decision without having done the proper background work that should have been done," managing partner Ken Kendrick said. "I take full responsibility for that, and I'm very sorry."

After details of his past problems surfaced in the Times and in the Phoenix-area media, the Diamondbacks hired a company to do an independent background check. The decision to replace Backman was made after seeing results of that investigation, Kendrick said.

"Had we, at the time we made the decision, had all the facts that we ended up having, we would not have named Wally our manager," Kendrick said.

Kendrick declined to say what other problems the club's probe may have uncovered. Backman was asked in his final interview whether there was anything in his past that the Diamondbacks should know, and he answered no, Kendrick said.

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