Grace, Sutton won't return to D-backs' booth

Grace, Sutton won't return to D-backs' booth

Grace, Sutton won't return to D-backs' booth
PHOENIX -- D-backs television broadcasters Daron Sutton and Mark Grace will not return for the 2013 season.

Sutton was suspended by the team on June 22 and did not return the rest of the season, while Grace was arrested on Aug. 23 for driving under the influence, his second such arrest in 15 months.

"We had told him before that if it happened again we were not going to have him return to the booth, and he knew that," D-backs team president/CEO Derrick Hall said of Grace. "We feel terrible for Mark and what he's going through. We hope everything works out well for him and we're here for him. But he knew this was going to be a consequence and it just so happens his contract was up after this year, as well."

Grace was a popular figure with D-backs fans. He spent 13 years playing first base for the Cubs before finishing his career with the D-backs from 2001-03 and played a key role in their Game 7 victory in the 2001 World Series.

While Grace's contract expired at the end of the season, Sutton's deal, which the team extended last year, has four more years remaining. Technically, that means Sutton is still employed by the club and Hall said the team plans to honor that contract.

However, the terms of the deal prevent Sutton from working for another organization. Hall said the team would not stand in the way of Sutton getting hired by another team, but he declined to say whether that would relieve the D-backs of any further financial obligation.

"I want Daron to work," Hall said.

There were plenty of questions surrounding Sutton's suspension, and until Thursday the team had declined to give a reason for the move.

"It just came down to philosophical differences in broadcasting with the organization and him," Hall said. "It's no knock on him, it's just style differences and differences in philosophy. Daron is going to be a good broadcaster for years to come, I certainly hope."

Hall said there was no one incident that prompted the break between the two parties.

"It's things that have happened over the years," Hall said.

The D-backs have already begun compiling a list of potential replacements for the pair. They are interested in Bob Brenly, who managed the D-backs from 2001-04 and was an analyst on the team's broadcasts from 1998-2000.

"We're always looking for the best broadcast possible, so we're looking for a good team," Hall said. "Ideally, we would love to have, like Mark brought, a connection to the past if that's possible. On the play-by-play side, we'd like someone who is exciting, can connect with the fans, obviously gets along well with the organization, the players and has passion, much like Daron had, and is a student and fan of the game."

Hall will play a big role in the selection process, as he did when Sutton was hired. Vice president of broadcasting Scott Geyer, managing general partner Ken Kendrick and executive vice president of business operations Cullen Maxey will also be part of the search.

Ideally, the team would like to have the new broadcasters in place in the next few weeks.

"We're going to move quickly," Hall said. "We're going to move very fast, because as soon as the season ends -- in particular as soon as postseason ends -- that's when there starts to be a lot of movement from team-to-team, or other sports into baseball, and we've compiled a good list but we're still putting that together."

Greg Schulte, who replaced Sutton on television will return to his normal duties as radio play-by-play voice while Jeff Munn, who filled in on the radio for Schulte, will return to his work on the pregame and postgame shows.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.