The Houston Astros fired manager Brad Mills, hitting coach Mike Barnett, and first-base coach Bobby Meacham late Saturday night. The moves were surprising, because although the Astros have the worst record in baseball, it’s largely due to the stripping-down of the roster by GM Jeff Luhnow; Mills managed what’s not much more than a glorified Triple-A roster.
Even such a roster needs a manager for the rest of the year. Sunday, Luhnow named Tony DeFrancesco interim manager. He should be quite familiar with some of his new players; until now he managed the Astros' Triple-A farm club, where so many of the Astros' current major leaguers have played.
DeFrancesco was in his second season as the Astros’ Triple-A manager; before that he had been in the Oakland Athletics chain as a minor-league manager and major-league coach. Luhnow also named the replacement coaches: Dan Radison will coach first base, with Ty Van Burkleo coaching the hitters.
Radison has been a minor-league manager in several organizations, including the Cubs, Cardinals and Yankees, and a major-league coach. Van Burkleo has been the Astros’ minor-league hitting coordinator since 2010.