Astros finalize coaching staff
The Astros finalized their field staff for the 2014 season on Tuesday, announcing Brent Strom as pitching coach, Pat Listach as first base coach, Craig Bjornson as bullpen coach and Ralph Dickenson as assistant hitting coach.
The team also announced Dave Trembley, who was third-base coach last season, will take over as bench coach, which was a position held by Eduardo Perez last year. Perez will make the move to third base coach, taking Trembley’s spot from last year.
Astros hitting coach John Mallee is returning in the same capacity as the 2013 season, which was the first year for first-year manager Bo Porter. Dan Radison, who was assistant hitting coach last year, has been named a special assignment coach.
Strom, 64, spent the last six seasons (2008-13) with the Cardinals organization, serving as the Cardinals’ Minor League pitching coordinator (2012-13) and Minor League pitching instructor (2008-11). This will be Strom’s third stint as a Major League pitching coach and his second with Houston, having been in the same position for the Astros in 1996 and for Kansas City from 2000-01.
Listach, 46, joins the Astros from the Dodgers, where he served as the organization’s Minor League infield coordinator in 2013. Prior to last season, Listach coached on the Major League staffs for the Cubs (2011-12) and Nationals (2009-10) for two years apiece.
He also has nine years of minor league coaching experience in the Cubs system from 2000-08. Listach played in six Major League seasons, which included time with the Milwaukee Brewers (1992-96) and the Astros (1997), and was named the 1992 American League Rookie of the Year. He is a resident of the Houston area.
Bjornson, 44, returns as the club’s bullpen coach, the same position he held for the Astros in 2012. He spent last season working as the organization’s roving pitching instructor. Bjornson, who is bilingual, has 15 years of coaching experience in professional baseball, mostly spent as a pitching coach. He also played three seasons of minor league baseball (1991-93), all in the Astros system.
Dickenson, 65, will take over as the assistant hitting coach after spending the 2013 season as the club’s Minor League hitting coordinator. Dickenson has been a Minor League hitting coordinator for 20 seasons (1990-92, 1995-2009, 2013) for seven different organizations. The 2014 season will be his 36th season as an instructor at the professional or collegiate level and his first on a Major League staff.
Next year will mark Trembley’s 30th season in professional baseball and his second consecutive with the Astros. He was the manager of the Orioles for parts of four seasons (2007-2010), and also spent 20 seasons as a Minor League skipper, which included managing Porter at three different levels while with the Cubs organization (1995-98).
Perez, 44, joined the Astros last year after serving as the Marlins’ hitting coach for nearly two seasons (2011-12). He has also worked as a special assistant to the baseball operations department for the Cleveland Indians, a role which included considerable time in uniform providing instruction at the Major League and Minor League levels.
Perez played parts of 13 seasons (1993-2006) in the Major Leagues with the Angels, Reds, Cardinals, Rays, Indians and Mariners. Following his playing career, he spent several seasons as a baseball analyst for ESPN, working the postseason and for Baseball Tonight.