Results tagged ‘ Bo Porter ’
Here are some photos from Saturday’s FanFest event at Minute Maid Park:
Not long after he failed a drug test that forced Major League Baseball to suspend him for the first 50 games of the 2013 season, Astros top prospect Jonathan Singleton had a heart-to-heart talk with manager Bo Porter about responsibility and the road ahead.
Singleton, ranked by MLB.com as the top prospect in the Astros organization, issued a statement following his Jan. 9 suspension apologizing to the team while admitting he tested positive for marijuana. It was his second failed test.
“I just explained to him, I said, ‘Listen, your life is at a crossroads. No one can sit here and say they’ve never made mistakes, but now your next move will go a long way in determining how you’re going to rectify this mistake,’” Porter said.
Porter said Singleton was apologetic in person, as well. He will have to sit out the first 50 games of the season, but can participate in Spring Training.
“I wanted him to know the whole organization is behind him rectifying this mistake and moving on in his baseball career,” Porter said. “I said, ‘Jonathan, this is not about Jonathan Singleton, the ball player. This is about Jonathan Singleton, the man.’ Because if we get the man right, we’re going to get the baseball player. But if we don’t get the man right, we’re never going to get the baseball player. I explained to him, ‘Now the ball is in your court, and it’s time for you to do your part.’”
The Astros have hired former All-Star pitcher Dennis Martinez as bullpen coach and former Major League first baseman and coach Eduardo Perez as bench coach, finalizing their coaching staff.
“We wanted to make sure it was a diverse staff, a staff that covers all the disciplines and a staff that has a good mix of experiences and everybody was a good teacher,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “I think we accomplished all of the goals we had. There were a lot of moving parts.”
Here’s a look at each member of the staff:
Manager Bo Porter: Porter, 40, has 18 years of combined experience as a player, coach and manager in the Minor Leagues and Major Leagues. He spent the previous two seasons as the third base coach for Washington. Prior to joining the Nationals staff in 2011, he began the 2010 season as third base coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks before being promoted to bench coach on July 1 when Kirk Gibson was named manager. Porter also served as third base coach for the Florida Marlins for three seasons (2007-09) prior to joining the Diamondbacks.
Porter also has experience as a manager, skippering the Marlins’ Jamestown club of the New York-Penn League for the 2006 season. He made his coaching debut as hitting coach for Class A Greensboro of the South Atlantic League in 2005.
During his playing career, Porter played in parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues as an outfielder for the Cubs (1999), A’s (2000) and Rangers (2001), appearing in a total of 89 games. He appeared in two playoff games for Oakland during the 2000 season. Porter was originally selected by the Cubs in the 1993 June Draft and hit 113 home runs with 503 RBIs and 236 stolen bases in 10 Minor League seasons.
Bullpen coach Dennis Martinez: Martinez, 57, who had been a pitching coach in the St. Louis Cardinals system for the past six seasons, won 245 games in his outstanding Major League career, a total that ranks first among Latin American-born pitchers. He appeared in four All-Star Games and led the American League in wins in 1981. While pitching for the Montreal Expos on July 28,1991 at Dodger Stadium, he hurled baseball’s 13th perfect game in a 2-0 victory. Overall, Martinez pitched 23 seasons in the Majors (1976-1998).
Martinez, who is from Nicaragua, is currently serving as manager of the Nicaraguan team that will be playing in the qualifying round for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. He had been the pitching coach for the Palm Beach Cardinals (A) for the past two seasons (2011-12). He also served stints as pitching coach for the Cardinals’ Double-A affiliate in Springfield and for their Gulf Coast League club. Martinez, 57, also served as a special assistant for the Orioles prior to joining the Cardinals organization.
Bench coach Eduardo Perez: Perez, 43, has both playing and coaching experience in the Majors and has also had success as a manager in Latin America. He currently is serving as manager of the Columbian team that is preparing for the qualifying round for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Perez previously had success as manager of the Ponce Lions in the Puerto Rico Winter League for two seasons (2008-09), earning Manager of the Year honors in 2008 and also guiding the Lions to the Caribbean Series in 2009.
Perez, who is the son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez, most recently had been the hitting coach for the Florida Marlins since June 8, 2011. Prior to that, he had served 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.
Hitting coach John Mallee: Mallee, 43, has 17 seasons of experience in professional baseball, primarily as a hitting coach in both the Major Leagues and minor leagues. Most recently, he spent a year as the Major League hitting coach for the Marlins between 2010-11. Prior to being named the Marlins big league hitting coach, Mallee spent eight and a half seasons as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. While at that position, Mallee worked with Porter, who was also a coach and manager in the Marlins farm system at the time (2005-06).
Third-base coach Dave Trembley: Trembley, 60, spent the last two seasons as the Minor League field coordinator for the Atlanta Braves. Trembley brings a wealth of experience to the staff, having spent his last 28 years in professional baseball, including 19 years as a Major League manager with Pittsburgh (1987-89), San Diego (1991-93), Chicago-NL (1994-2002) and Baltimore (2003-06). In 2000 with the Cubs, Trembley managed Porter in what was his first season in the Major Leagues.
Pitching coach Doug Brocail: Brocail, 45, returns for what will be his second full season as the Astros pitching coach in 2013. He took over the position midseason in 2011 after serving nearly two years (2010-11) as a special assistant to the Astros general manager. Brocail had a long professional career (1986-2009), which included three stops in Houston (1995-96, 2001, 2008-09). Brocail has been with the organization in some capacity, as a player, special assistant or coach, since 2008.
First-base coach Dave Clark: Clark, 50, will return for his fifth consecutive season on the Astros coaching staff, serving the previous four as third-base coach. A member of the Astros organization since 2005, Clark has also spent time as a Minor League manager in the organization at the Double-A (2005-07) and Triple-A levels (2008) and also served as the Astros interim manager for the final 13 games in 2009. Clark had a 13-year Major League playing career (1986-98), which included a one-year stint with Houston in 1998, the same team that won a franchise-best 102 games.
Astros manager Bo Porter, who has officially taken control of the club following the elimination of the Nationals from the playoffs on Friday night, was at Minute Maid Park on Monday for a meeting with general manager Jeff Luhnow.
The top priority for Porter and Luhnow is finalizing the Major League coaching staff, something Luhnow said they would like have done in the next 10-14 days.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Luhnow said.
The Astros’ current coaching staff consists of bench coach Joe Pettini, hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo, pitching coach Doug Brocail, third-base coach Dave Clark, first-base coach Dan Radison and bullpen coach Craig Bjornson. Van Burkleo and Radison took over in August when manager Brad Mills, hitting coach Mike Barnett and first-base coach Bobby Meacham were let go.
Pettini, who came to the Astros after 10 years as the Cardinals bench coach, and Brocail both said last month they would like to return next year, but their fate remains up in the air. Tony DeFrancesco, who served as interim manager for the final 41 games, could also return to the field staff in some capacity.
“It was fun with this young club,” Pettini said last month. “It wasn’t so much fun losing so many as we have, but it’s always fun working with younger guys and seeing guys develop. Some guys turn into everyday players and some guys might not make it or stay here. That’s the growing pains in the organization.
“Yeah, I would [like to stay]. I’m 57 years old and have 11 years as a coach at the big league level and a few as a player, and I’m not quite ready to retire yet. I’d like to do it a few more years.”
Brocail, 45, put in a full season as pitching coach in 2012 after taking over midway through the 2011 seasons when Brad Arnsberg was let go.
“Of course, I’d love to be back,” he said last month. “I love this job, but we have a lot of work to do. I’d like to see it through. I don’t know what their thoughts are. Nobody’s talked about it, but if they want to sit down and talk, I’d love to be back. We all know we have a ton of work to do, we all know there’s a plan in place, and that plan needs to be followed to a T, and I hope I’m the guy and they have confidence in me.”
Porter, 40, spent the previous two seasons as third-base coach for the Nationals and is inheriting an Astros team that has lost 213 games in the past two seasons. Luhnow said Porter will meet with the media at Minute Maid Park on Thursday.
Tony DeFrancesco, who was passed over for the full-time managerial job, said Friday he’s glad to get the opportunity to manage the team for the final 41 games of season and hopes to be able to remain on the staff of incoming manager Bo Porter.
“I’m very proud of being an Astro manager and taking over the team,” he said. “I thought we turned it around a little bit. Our goal right now is to get to .500 for the month of September (Astros were 11-13 in September entering Friday).”
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow informed DeFrancesco of the club’s decision following Wednesday night’s game.
DeFrancesco was one of four finalists for the job, which eventually went to Porter. He’s the third base coach for the Nationals and will join the Astros when Washington’s playoff run is over. DeFrancesco, who began this year managing at Triple-A Oklahoma City, will remain in the organization.
“They made the right choice,” DeFrancesco said. “Bo was the guy they wanted and there was no regrets on my part. No regrets on Jeff when he told me the other day that they were going to go with Bo. I’m real happy just to get an opportunity and now hopefully I’m going to remain in the organization at some point – we’re not sure what it is yet.”
DeFrancesco, who has a 1,235-1,088 career record as a manager in the Minor Leagues, would like to be on Porter’s staff. It’s unclear which members of the current coaching staff are going to remain.
“I would love to stay at the Major League level on Bo’s staff and that’s up to [owner] Jim [Crane] and Jeff and Bo to decide if that’s something available,” he said. “I think I do have the option of going back to Oklahoma City and doing the Triple-A team again to manage that. But there might be other avenues down the road for me if it’s somewhere in the front office or in player development or a special assistant or something that route, maybe that’s a direction I could go.”
The Astros on Thursday named Washington Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter as their 17th manager. Porter, 40, will remain with the Nationals until the playoffs are over and will then be charged with taking over an Astros team that will be coming off back-to-back 100-loss seasons.
Porter held a question-and-answer session with the Houston media:
Q: Can you talk about what it means to get the job?
A: “I’m completely honored. It starts with Jim Crane at the top. He’s put together a great leadership team and am I just honored to be a part of that leadership team. When you look at the success in the organization, you have continuity from the top all the way down to the bottom. They did a thorough search and did a great job of doing their due diligence and going through the process, and I’m just honored that I’m the one they decided and were all in agreement I was the man for the job.”
Q: What excites you most about being a part of this team?
A: “What excites me the most is it’s a young group, but at the same time it’s a very talented group. Jeff Luhnow and his staff from the day in which he took over the organization, he has done a great job of surrounding himself with quality people off the field as well as on the field. The talent pool is very good and now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges facing you here in Houston?
A: “I think the biggest challenge would be basically getting everybody on board with the direction and the vision the leadership group has put together. Jim Crane has made it very clear his goal is to build an organization that will have sustained excellence, and in order to do that you have to build from within your organization and start with the core players. It’s getting everyone on the same wave length, and I think we are all in agreement that message has already started to be delivered and we will continue to deliver that message throughout the whole organization.”
Q: There’s only 30 of these jobs. When did it hit you that you’ve got one of them now, or has it hit you?
A: “It actually hit me yesterday [Wednesday]. I talked to my wife [Stacie] after I finished meeting with Jim, George [Postolos] and Jeff and this is very special for her because my wife is from Houston, she grew up on the southwest side of Houston, she’s a Westbury High School graduate. So it’s a little bit, I guess you could say, more of a chill down her spine. I get to come home, we get to be at home, and at the same time she understands the dynamics of baseball and all that comes with the job because she’s been on this journey with me the entire time. To hear her respond and the joy in her voice really hit home of just how exciting this time is.”
Q: What have you learned from the Nationals experience that translates to what you will be having to do with the Astros?
A: “I think the biggest thing is you look around the diamond at the team we put out there every night and you look at Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detweiler, Bryce Harper, you have Drew Storen in the bullpen and Craig Stammen – you look at that and you say to yourself, ‘All those guys are homegrown.’ If you are able to grow your own talent and they get to the big leagues and they become core players, they’re level of commitment to the overall excellence of the organization runs a little bit deeper than players that may come from the outside or they come here from different avenues into your organization. That’s the goal and the commitment of the organization from the top down, that’s one of the things that driven me to this job. When I sat around and talked with the leadership group, our vision and our plan was dead on. We were on the same page.”
Q: What then will constitute success for you? Ia it wins, losses, or is it a measure of improvement within the organization?
A: “I think the biggest thing is when you start talking about the number of games you’re going to win and you’re going to lose, I tend to focus more on the process, and if you take care of the process, the desired results, you’ll get it much more often. When I speak to the team and we’re talking about… Everybody wants to win a game, so at the end of the day if you take care of the process you will [get there]. From the standpoint from the offseason program, leading into spring Training, all of our conversations from the team, from the players, is let’s worry about the things we can control. And we can control the process.”
Q: What have you learned from other managers with whom you worked, or if you could go back to Hayden Fry at Iowa [former football coach]?
A: “I’ve been blessed to be around some tremendous leaders. You speak about Hayden Fry. He is one of the people that had a huge impact on my life. Early on, I was 17 years old and coming out of high school, and had the fortune of playing baseball and football at the University of Iowa. Coach Fry, when it comes to attention to detail, he takes it to the Nth degree. That is something that I learned at the University of Iowa and has stayed with me throughout my playing days and definitely through my coaching days. Our job as a coach or as a leader is basically put our players in a position to be successful, to help them play to their potential. In order to do that you have to be prepared and you have to be able to give them the information that arms them to play at a fast speed and to have an opportunity to be success. The time I’ve spent with all the managers I’ve been around, from Jim Riggleman and Davey Johnson… Riggleman runs a great ballgame, and I had the fortune to spend some time with him as a player. He was my manager in Chicago and got some time to spend with him as the third base coach in Washington when he was the manager. Davey Johnson has done a great job here and the way he communicates with players, it’s something that they could be linked to, the players feeling a connection you have to have to a player that allows a player to play at a high level. I’ve been blessed to be around a lot of good people. It would be a long list if I sat here and had to name everyone, but I’m one of those people that try to learn from every situation, good or bad, so I would say from the good ones I learned a lot of what to do, and if I found myself in a situation where it was something I didn’t think I would do, you learn from that situation as well.”
Q: How weird is thing going to be for you having this job and still working for the Nationals and trying to win a World Series with them?
A: “One of the great things about this whole process is that everybody was going forward with the overall objective here. We’re trying to be as courteous as possible and ask as any many questions and speak to as many people as possible, but at the same time I don’t want to lose sight of a major goal of this organization that I’m currently working with, the Washington Nationals. We set out in Spring Training and that goal we feel is attainable. We have a chance and out of respect to what our team is doing here, I am going to take as many questions as I can today, but after today when I get to the ballpark, my immediate focus goes back to the job at hand, and that is to do everything I can to be the last team standing to win a World Series championship.”
Q: Some people say you bring a football mentality to baseball? Do you agree with that, and what does that mean?
A: “Well, I think people that know my style, I guess intensity is a word that we use. I’m a passionate person. I’m passionate about going about my work in the right way, and I think that would be a reflection of our ballclub. When you want to do so something and you want to do it well, you need to do it with enthusiasm. And that’s something I’ve always believed in. I think enthusiasm is contagious. I think when you have those kinds of players on your ballclub, a player that may not project the same level of enthusiasm as the next person, that’s something as a team when you see an effort that your fellow teammates are putting out, it kind of makes you go to another level. When they look at me, I want them to see that energy, that intensity , that passion. It gives them a sense of this is how the game is supposed to be played and this is how we’re going to play it.”
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge in the move to the American League?
A: “I think the biggest thing is whenever you change leagues, just like for a player, there is a get-to-know-you phase where you’re trying to get to know the league and the league is trying to get to know you, but at the end of the day it’s baseball. Just like when you have Interleague games. The only thing that changes is when an American League team goes to a National League ballpark is that the pitcher has to hit. So my experience in baseball, being in the National League, I got to coach for many years, playing in the American League as a player, it’s baseball and you have to play the game regardless of whether you’re in the National League or the American League.”
Astros owner Jim Crane said Tuesday the club has whittled its managerial search to three or four candidates and hopes to be able have the process wrapped up either later this week or early next week. The announcement of the hire will depend on whether the new manager is working for a playoff club.
“It will really depend on the selection we make, how quickly we announce that based upon where the teams are and the candidates we’re talking to,” Crane said. “If they’re in the playoffs, we might have to wait until the playoffs are over.”
Crane said the club has a good feeling about “a couple of candidates,” but said the team is still checking backgrounds and references. He didn’t rule out the idea of any remaining potential candidates having another interview with management.
“We got a very good look at a lot of different people and we learned a lot through the process,” Crane said. “We think the group we have left, any one of them will be a good manager.”
Among the candidate who have interviewed and are still in the hunt are Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, Nationals third base coach Bo Porter and Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco.
“I’m confident we’re going to get a great manager,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “There’s a lot of excellent baseball people that are ready to help the organization. … It’s splitting hairs which one is better than the other. Really, it’s about which one is a better fit for the organization at this point in time given where we’re going.”