August 19, 2012
Astros select DeFrancesco as interim manager
By The Sports Xchange
Tony DeFrancesco, who had unprecedented success as a minor-league manager, has been named interim manager of the Houston Astros.
The Astros, who have the worst record in the major leagues at 39-82 record entering Sunday, fired manager Brad Mills on Saturday night after less than three seasons. He had a 171-272 record.
“I waited a long time to come to this level and be on a big league staff as a manager,” DeFrancesco said during his introduction. “I want to be the guy who changes the environment out there.”
DeFrancesco’s major-league experience is limited to one season as third-base coach for the Oakland A’s in 2008. However, the off-season substitute teacher was one of the most successful minor-league managers in Class AAA during the past decade.
He led the Sacramento River Cats to six division titles (2003-05, ’07, ‘09-10), three Pacific Coast League championships (2003-04 and ‘07), one Triple-A championship in 2007.
This season, he led the Oklahoma City Redhawk, the Astros’ Class AAA affiliate, to a 67-60 record, which put them in third place in the PCL’s American South Division.
Also, the Ty Van Burkleo was named interim hitting coach and Dan Radison as interim first base coach, replacing Mike Barnett and Bobby Meachem, respectively.
DeFrancesco knows the majority of the roster with the Astros shedding numerous veteran contracts and going with a youthful look. Last month, the Astros dealt first baseman Carlos Lee, third baseman Chris Johnson, pitchers J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez. The deals shed $49 million from Houston’s payroll.
“We feel like we have an opportunity now to search for our permanent manager and our permanent staff going forward,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “We’re going to begin the work on that immediately.”
Luhnow did not put a timeframe on it but has not ruled out conducting interviews during the season and for as long into the offseason as necessary.