Mills Named Astros Manager

Style News Wire | 10/27/2009, 7 p.m.
Brad Mills, who spent the past six years working under former college roommate and teammate Terry Francona as the bench ...

Brad Mills, who spent the past six years working under former college roommate and teammate Terry Francona as the bench coach for the Boston Red Sox, was named on Tuesday the new manager of the Astros.

The club has scheduled a news conference for 3 p.m. CT to be held at Minute Maid Park.

Mills, 52, first interviewed with the Astros on Oct. 19 at Minute Maid Park and returned for a second meeting with team officials two days later, this time including owner Drayton McLane. Mills met briefly with front office officials again Tuesday morning.

Former Astros manager Phil Garner and interim manager Dave Clark were finalists for the job. The Astros offered the position to Manny Acta on Saturday, but Acta turned down Houston's two-year deal with an option in favor of a three-year deal with an option to become manager in Cleveland.

The Astros were looking for a full-time manager to replace Cecil Cooper, who was dismissed on Sept. 21. Clark managed the Astros on an interim basis for the final 13 games of the season and will remain on the Major League field staff next year.

Mills inherits a Houston team that has missed the playoffs four seasons in a row since reaching the World Series in 2005. Last season, the Astros went 74-88 and finished in fifth place in the six-team National League Central for their lowest finish since a sixth-place ending in the NL West in 1991.

Mills managed 11 seasons in the Minor Leagues with the Chicago Cubs (1987-92), Colorado Rockies (1993-96) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2002), moving into managing immediately upon the completion of his playing career. He's coached 11 years at the Major League level, including the past six as Boston's bench coach.

Astros general manager Ed Wade has a tremendous respect for Francona and said dismissing him as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies was the biggest mistake of his professional career. Mills and Francona were teammates and roommates at the University of Arizona.

Mills played four seasons in the Major Leagues for the Montreal Expos, hitting .256 in 106 career games. He spent some time playing the Astros' Minor League system, but is probably best remember by Astros fans for being Nolan Ryan's 3,509th strikeout victim, lifting Ryan past Walter Johnson as baseball's all-time strikeout king in 1983.

In addition to the Red Sox, Mills also spent time on Montreal's Major League coaching staff, as well as serving as an advance scout for the Cubs.

Mills was one of 10 who interviewed for the position, including Astros Minor League field coordinator Al Pedrique; former Milwaukee manager Ned Yost; San Diego hitting coach Randy Ready; former Seattle and Arizona manager Bob Melvin; Philadelphia bench coach Pete Mackanin; and Boston Red Sox first-base coach Tim Bogar.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.