Results tagged ‘ Dave Clark ’

Astros shake up coaching staff

The Astros shook up their coaching Tuesday, announcing pitching coach Doug Brocail would become a special assistant and the contracts of first base coach Dave Clark and bullpen coach Dennis Martinez would not be renewed.

Brocail had previously served as a special assistant following his 16-year playing career, beginning in 2010. He took over as interim pitching coach on June 14, 2011 and was later named to the position full-time.

Martinez, who won 245 games in the Major Leagues and threw a perfect game in 1991, was in his first season as the team’s bullpen coach.

Clark, who previously served as interim manager and third-base coach, moved across the diamond this year to become first-base coach when the Astros brought in Dave Trembley to be third-base coach.

Clark, Perez speak with Paredes

Astros bench coach Eduardo Perez and first base coach Dave Clark both had conversations with outfielder Jimmy Paredes on Saturday, a day after he crashed into teammate Jake Elmore and forced him to drop a ball that allowed the Pirates to score the winning run in the ninth inning

Paredes, who was in right field, didn’t see Elmore, the second baseman, waving his arms to signal he was prepared to catch the ball, at which point Paredes should have backed off. It was the second time in less than week Paredes ran into a second baseman. He crashed into Jose Altuve on Monday in Detroit and partially dislocated Altuve’s jaw.

“This is Major League Baseball and you can’t have those kinds of fundamental mishaps in big league games,” manager Bo Porter said. “It should not happen.”

Perez said he was honest with Paredes. He told him the play in Detroit wasn’t his fault because Altuve didn’t hear him calling for the ball, but on Friday he should have peeled off as Elmore was raising his hands.

“He was a little confused on how he’s going to look down and up at the same time,” Perez said. “It’s just him being a little bit raw out there, but he’s got to learn from it. I tried to tell him to switch positions [Paredes used to play second base] and think about when you’re a second baseman, what do you do? How do you call it? You call it by raising your hand and you’re expecting the right-fielder to see you. Now you’re a right-fielder and you have to see him. If he’s under the ball, he’s getting it.”

Veteran pitcher Edgar Gonzalez, who was on the mound at the time, spoke to Paredes in their native Spanish after the game and offered words of encouragement.

“He told me that happens in the game sometimes and he told me the most important thing is you and Elmore are fine,” Paredes said. “There were no injuries. Nobody got hurt. In the game, that situation happens. That’s what he was he was telling me. Just keep going.”

Astros reveal new coaching staff

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 got it right with this coaching staff

It’s rather unusual to see a Major League coaching staff get multi-year deals, but the Astros felt so good about what they had in manager Brad Mills’ staff that they announced Saturday they had extended the contracts of the field staff by two years, though 2012.

The Astros will have to wait a couple of more weeks before hitting coach Jeff Bagwell tells them whether he wants to return, but Mills and general manager Ed Wade have put together a terrific coaching staff in Brad Arnsberg (pitching coach), Dave Clark (third-base coach), Bobby Meacham (first-base coach), Al Pedrique (bench coach) and Jamie Quirk (bullpen coach).

Not only do they have the respect of the players, but the group puts in long hours poring over advance scouting reports and in the video room before the players even arrive at the ballpark.

“I knew from basically July on we wanted to keep this group together,” Wade said. “I talked to [owner] Drayton [McLane] and [president of baseball operation] Tal [Smith about doing two-years and they see the same things I’ve seen and they’re very supportive of extending beyond this organization’s norm.

“If you look at coaches’ contracts, there’s not a lot of multi-year deals out there. There are some, but not the vast majority. To be able to do that with the entire unit sends a message to them that we appreciate the kind of work they’ve done and a message to the players, too, that there’s continuity and stability. With a younger group, that’s an important message to try to deliver.”

Don’t be surprised to see the Astros pick up Mills’ option for 2012. He’s under contract next year, but with his staff getting contracts through 2012, it only makes sense the manager gets the same deal.


Garner still in mix

Former Astros manager Phil Garner confirmed for on Monday he’s still in the mix to be the next manager. Garner interviewed on Oct. 17 and went more than a week without hearing from the Astros, but general manager Ed Wade finally got back to him on Monday and told him he was still in the running.

Astros owner Drayton McLane said Monday as he was traveling to Temple from Austin that a manager will be in place by the end of the week, which is later than his earlier prediction of Wednesday. Still, it appears the Astros will likely have a candidate in place by Wednesday at the latest.

Garner is one of three finalists, joining interim manager Dave Clark and Boston bench coach Brad Mills. Mills and Clark were due to arrive in Houston on Monday and interview again with McLane on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park. Garner has not been asked in to interview again.

Astros focused on four candidates

Now the second round of interviews appear to be over — with Manny Acta and later Brad Mills making repeat trips to Minute Maid Park to meet with owner Drayton McLane — the Astros remained focused on four candidates: Acta, Mills, Phil Garner and Dave Clark.

None of these four have been rule out by the Astros, who would like to get something done before the World Series starts. Major League Baseball frowns on major team announcements taking place during the World Series, which starts Wednesday. So it’s of no surprise the Astros could try to get something done before the Fall Classic.

Acta, the former Washington Nationals manager, is also a finalist in Cleveland, which could complicate matters. Mills is the veteran Boston bench coach who is looking for his first job managing in the Major Leagues. Garner and Clark are well-known to Astros fans, both having managed the team.

Garner managed the Astros for more than three years and led them to the World Series in 2005, and Clark was named interim manager when Cecil Cooper was dismissed Sept. 21. The Astros have ruled out neither of the four candidates.

Who would you pick to manage the Astros?

All the interviews and public press conferences are finished, and we know the Astros’ next manager will be one of 10 people. Some have extensive experience in the Majors, some have extensive experience in the Minors and all bring something different to the table.

The Astros were open with the first round of interviews, but now things change. Club officials are taking the search underground, with the next public announcement likely to be the hiring of a manager. GM Ed Wade has set no timetable and MLB doesn’t like announcements to coming during the World Series, so we might have to wait until November to find out who the manager is going to be.

No matter who the Astros pick, don’t expect a quick fix next year. The bottom line is it’s a broken roster that will take a few years to correct. There are too many older players — and  maybe even declining older players — making the lion’s share of the money without many young players coming up. That will change in a few years, but a new manager isn’t going to fix that.

What a new manager can fix is clubhouse chemistry. He can get everyone on the same page. He can get rid of the losing air that took over the clubhouse last year and get the Astros playing inspired baseball again. Let’s be honest. The final two months of the season, every Astros game was the same. They were down by five or six runs early and they’d hit into about three double plays. It was tough to watch.

I wasn’t in the interview room with Wade, president of baseball operations Tal Smith or assistant GMs Ricky Bennett, David Gottfried and Bobby Heck, so I don’t pretend to know how the interviews went or what they thought of certain guys. I can only tell you what I learned from my research about each guys’ background and what I heard in the 10 minutes I spent with the each candidate.

The Astros are definitely looking for a manager with experience, and I think we’re going to see one with Major League experience. After all, they want a manager who will relate well with younger and older players, and I think you need an experienced MLB manager to deal with star players. So I’ve broken down the candidates into three groups. The leaders, the contenders and the long shots.

Again, this is in no way indicative of what the front office is thinking, but it’s what I think. And sometimes I get things right. Now I want to know what you think. Who should be managing the Astros in 2010 from this group?


Bob Melvin: The Astros have to love the fact he managed veteran players to 93 wins in Seattle and a younger Arizona team to the NLCS in 2007. He seems to be the exactly what the Astros want.  

Manny Acta: No one in the group seemed to have as much knowledge about the Astros than Acta, who was signed by Houston at 16 and spent 16 years in the organization as a player, coach and manager. He’s young, bilingual and this would be his dream job. 

Phil Garner: The fact that Garner, the former Astros manager, even got an interview leads me to believe he’s a serious candidate. If anyone can rally a team and fire them up, it’s Garner. He’s been there, done that. Whether that helps remains to be seen. 

Ned Yost: He took a struggling Milwaukee franchise and led them to the playoffs as they got younger and better. Sure, he was fired at the end of the 2008 season, but that was his team in the playoffs.


Pete Mackanin: The lasting image I took from Mackanin was him walking off the podium after the interview shocked at how few members of the media there were in attendance. But he has tons of experience doing different things and was highly recommended.

Dave Clark: No one would be shocked if the Astros hired Clark, who got the endorsement of the players after his 13 days as interim manager at the end of the season. But I see him staying on the staff and getting another look during the next go-round. 

Brad Mills: Who doesn’t like Brad Mills? He has a great personality and has tons of experience as a Minor League manager and as a coach in the Majors. He spent six years working under Terry Francona, a person Ed Wade respects mightily.


Tim Bogar: Bogar is still young and up-and-coming, which could hurt his chances here. I think he’s going to make a good manager someday, but the experience handling star players just isn’t there.

Randy Ready: I just can’t see the Astros hiring someone with so much lack of experience at the Major League level when they have so many other experienced candidates. His time will come eventually. 

Al Pedrique: The Astros’ Minor League field coordinator knows the organization well, but will players listen to him?  


A look at Astros managerial candidates Dave Clark and Al Pedrique

In an effort to give you a better understanding of the men who are coming to interview for the Astros’ full-time managerial job, this blog will be home to bios of the potential candidates on the day they are scheduled to interview. In case you missed it, here is the interview schedule:

     Wednesday: 10 a.m.-Dave Clark; 1:30 p.m.-Al Pedrique
     Thursday: 10 a.m.-Ned Yost; 1:30 p.m.-Randy Ready
     Friday: 10 a.m.-Bob Melvin; 1:30 p.m.-Manny Acta
     Saturday: 10 a.m.-Phil Garner
     Monday: 10 a.m.-Brad Mills; 1:30 p.m.-Tim Bogar

Clark, the Astros’ interim manager, and Pedrique, the Astros’ Minor League field coordinator, are pretty familiar to Astros fans, but hopefully these bios will help everyone get to know the candidates better in advance on their interviews. The first interviews are Wednesday, but here are the bios of the first two candidates:

     Dave Clark
     Age: 47
     Hometown: Tupelo, Miss.
     College: Jackson State
     Most recent job: Astros interim manager (after spending most of season as third-base coach).
     Previous Major League managing experience: Went 4-9 in final 13 games with Astros this year.
     Major League managing record: 4-9.
     Minor League managing experience: Made managerial debut in 2003 at Class-A Lynchburg in Carolina League and was named league’s Manager of the Year. In 2004, he managed at Class-A Hickory in the Pittsburgh organization and went 85-55 and won the South Atlantic League title. The Astros hired him in 2005 and he managed for three years at Double-A Corpus Christi, leading the Hooks to the 2006 Texas League title and winning Manager of the Year honors. He managed at Triple-A Round Rock in 2008 and went 64-79.
     Minor League managing record: 432-405.
     Playing experience: Played 13 seasons in Major Leagues, ending his career with the Astros in 1998. He’s a career .264 hitter with 62 homers and 284 RBIs in 905 games. He was originally selected in first round (11th pick overall) in 1983 draft by Cleveland.
     Did you know: Clark was 26-0 as a Golden Gloves boxer while in high school?
     What GM Ed Wade said: “I was impressed with the work he did at Triple-A a year ago. I thought he did a very solid job as third-base coach, and I was favorably impressed with him as both as a coach and an interim manager.”

     Al Pedrique
     Age: 49
     Hometown: Valencia, Venezuela
     College: None
     Most recent job: Astros’ Minor League field coordinator.
     Previous Major League managing experience: Went 22-61 in second half of season for Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004.
     Major League managing record: 22-61.
     Minor League managing experience:  He managed for eight years in the Minors, posting back-to-back winning seasons in 2002-03 at Double-A Tucson in his final two seasons as skipper. He began managing in 1995 and guided the Astros’ Class-A affiliate in Michigan in 1999-2000, winning the Midwest league title in 2000. He’s also managed in the Venezuelan Winter League and the Arizona Fall League. 
     Minor League managing record: 463-433.
     Playing experience: Pedrique played three seasons in the Major Leagues and hit .247 with one home run in 174 games with the New York Mets, Pittsburgh and Detroit.
     Did you know: Pedrique was the starting shortstop for the National League All-Star team in the original RBI Baseball video game by Nintendo?
     What GM Ed Wade said: “Al was here as an administrative coach when I got here and I was impressed enough with what he did that we made him field coordinator, which is a critical part of our organization. Al’s done a great job in that role and relates well with people. He’s stern when he has to be and is willing to teach, which is important.”

Astros have six confirmed candidates for manager job

The names are slowly coming in. The Astros will begin interviewing managerial candidates Wednesday, and Red Sox coach bench Brad Mills and first base coach Tim Bogar have been given permission by the Red Sox to interview with the Astros. Interim manager Dave Clark will be among two men to interview Wednesday, and former Washington manager Manny Acta has already acknowledged he will interview.

Also, former Arizona manager Bob Melvin told on Monday he will interview later this week. Wade has confirmed Acta, Mills, Bogar, Clark and Astros Minor League field coordinator Al Pedrique as candidates.

The Astros will try to interview two candidates per day beginning Wednesday and hope to finish the first round of interviews by later this week. Wade, president of baseball operations Tal Smith, assistant general managers Ricky Bennett, David Gottfried and Bobby Heck and special assistant to the general manager Enos Cabell will be involved in the first round of interviews. Owner Drayton McLane is scheduled to get involved later in the process.

Wade has been making calls to try to gather more information about the men who will interview, but he’s looking forward to talking to the candidates in person

“We’ll have very specific questions about how he goes about organizing Spring Training, how he interacts with coaches and the authority he gives to coaches and things of that nature – basically walking through what one would expect a manager’s responsibilities to be,” he said. “And we’ll ask some direct questions about how they go about things in each of those areas.”


Astros are a loose bunch

When relief pitcher Wesley Wright was doing a television interview prior to Wednesday’s game, he got a shaving cream pie to the face, courtesy of – who else? – LaTroy Hawkins. The same LaTroy Hawkins who was the mastermind behind the rookies dressing up in tight workout outfits for the flight to Philadelphia for the final road trip of the season.

As the season draws to a close, the Astros are certainly a loose bunch. And that is just fine with interim manager Dave Clark.

“I like a loose atmosphere,” Clark said. “I think that’s how you’re able to go out and be yourself and play the game like it’s supposed to be played and have fun doing it. That’s exactly what it’s all about it, trying to have fun and win ballgames.”

Clark believes the manager and coaching staff have to create a positive atmosphere. He doesn’t want players getting too high when they’ve won a bunch of games in a row or too low when they’re struggling to put anything together.

“We want it on an even keel,” Clark said. “There are times you’re getting your butt kicked but you have to find a way to get it done, find a way to keep it at an even keel. A lot of that comes from the veterans as well. That’s the kind of atmosphere I definitely want, and that’s the kind of atmosphere I’ll definitely command.”


Wandy Rodriguez is scheduled to start the first game of the final series of the season Friday in New York. He will be followed by Yorman Bazardo on Saturday and Wilton Lopez on Sunday, but interim manager Dave Clark said Lopez could be used in the bullpen prior to Sunday.

The Astros are shorthanded in the bullpen with Chad Paronto perhaps unavailable for the final four games of the season because of a strained left hamstring.

“The thought process behind that is maybe put Lopez back in the pen and see where we’re at at that particular time,” Clark said. “The last game of the season, if we have to run them all out there, we’ll do it.”


Relief pitcher Chad Paronto, who had to be helped off the field in the seventh inning Tuesday after straining his left hamstring, said he was sore on Wednesday, though not as sore as he thought he’d be. Paronto said he’d like to pitch again in the final days of the season, but interim manager Dave Clark suggested the right-hander is done.

“It’s frustrating to finally get a chance to get out there and show people what I can do and get hurt,” Paronto said. “I’m not as effective when I pitch every five or six days. Being a sinker-baller, I do better when I pitch every one or two days.”