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Friday, November 5, 2004
Job hunt brings possible violation to light

Associated Press

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- A Benton County judge has ordered a hearing next month to determine whether baseball manager Wally Backman violated his probation three years ago.

Backman was fired Friday as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, just four days after he was hired, after revelations he was arrested twice and struggled with financial problems.

Backman was arrested on a driving under the influence charge in Kennewick in 2000, when he was manager of the Tri-City Posse minor league team. He pleaded guilty after fighting that charge for two years.

Backman served one day in jail, and 364 days were suspended on the condition he commit no new crimes. He was placed on probation for five years.

In 2001, he was arrested after a fight at his home involving his wife and one of her friends in Prineville, Ore.

The Diamondbacks' management had been unaware of Backman's problems until media reports that followed his hiring.

Benton County District Judge Holly Hollenbeck ruled Thursday that there was sufficient cause for a hearing to determine whether Backman had violated his probation. The hearing is set for Dec. 3.

Backman will be sent a notice through his attorney to attend the hearing. If found guilty, he could be ordered to serve all or part of his suspended sentence.

A telephone message left Friday with Alan Tindell of Richland, an attorney who represented Backman on the DUI case, was not immediately returned.

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.