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Alan Ashby, the former Astros catcher who had called games for the Blue Jays since 2007, has resigned his position in Toronto and has agreed to terms to join Houston’s television broadcast team with Bill Brown on CSN Houston. An official announcement will be next week.
Ashby, who lives in Houston, worked from 1998 to 2006 alongside play-by-play announcer Milo Hamilton, who retired following last season. He’ll serve as the color commentator on television broadcasts and occasionally fill in on play-by-play duties.
“The opportunity in Toronto was for me and my wife a life-saving and career-saving kind of opportunity, and all I can do is thank them for that and everything it’s been to us,” Ashby said. “It’s really given me this opportunity now to come back here and pursue this chance, and I’m just grateful to come back home and work and just kind of continue to enjoy what this special vocation presents.”
Ashby said Brown will work a reduced schedule next year per his wishes.
“Brownie’s a friend of mine so that makes it extra special,” he said. “He’s pulling back a little bit. He’s going to do roughly 100 games and I will do the other games in his seat, so that’s really the reason I chose to go in that direction. I felt, in the long run, the chance to kind of slip in with Brownie and maybe be in a position when he walks away from it to have that seat, to me is an opportunity that just seemed like what I could ultimately like best.”
Ashby, 61, played 17 years in the Major Leagues, including 11 with the Astros (1979-89). He’s a career .245 hitter with 90 homers and 513 RBIs, logging 69 homers and 388 RBIs with the Astros. He also caught a pair of no-hitters with the Astros.
Ashby was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000 and earlier this year was named the Astros’ all-time starting catcher as part of the team’s 50th anniversary.
Hamilton stepped down as the team’s full-time radio play-by-play voice after more than 25 years, and the team didn’t renew the contracts of play-by-play voices Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond. Jim Deshaies left the Astros for WGN last month, leaving Brown as the lone returning holdover of the broadcast team in 2013.