Ensberg named Astros' short-season manager

Ensberg named Astros' short-season manager

HOUSTON -- Morgan Ensberg, the former Astros third baseman who was an All-Star on their 2005 National League championship team, has been named manager of the team's Class A short-season affiliate, the Tri-City ValleyCats.

Ensberg's first career managerial stint highlights the Astros' release of their 2017 Minor League staff on Tuesday. The managers of the club's top three affiliates remain unchanged, with Tony DeFrancesco (Triple-A Fresno), Rodney Linares (Double-A Corpus Christi) and Omar Lopez (Class A Advanced Buies Creek) all returning. The Buies Creek Astros of the Carolina League replace the Lancaster JetHawks of the California League as the Astros' Class A Advanced affiliate.

Ensberg joined the professional coaching ranks in 2013 as an infield coach with Lancaster (2013), and he has since served as Houston's Minor League special assignment coach (2014-15) and development coach ('16).

Russ Steinhorn, who led the Dominican Summer League Astros Blue club to a 42-23 record last season in his first stint as a Minor League manager, is the new manager at Class A Quad Cities. The other field managers are Danny Ortega (rookie level Greeneville), Wladimir Sutil (Gulf Coast League) and Carlos Lugo (DSL Astros Orange).

The Astros' coordinators are Doug White (pitching), Jeff Albert (hitting), Dan Radison (fundamentals), Mark Bailey (catching), Adam Everett (infield), Josh Miller (complex pitching), Ralph Dickenson (hitting instructor), Bryan Baca (medical), Christian Bermudez (Latin American medical), Brendan Verner (strength and conditioning), Rachel Balkovec (Latin American strength and conditioning), JT Podell (rehab) and Jesse Michel (mental skills).

Other items of note:

• Radison is entering is his fifth season with Houston in a newly created role as fundamentals coordinator. During his time with the Astros, Radison has been a Double-A hitting coach ('15-16), Minor League special assistant ('14), Major League assistant hitting coach and advanced coordinator ('13), interim first-base coach ('12) and special assistant to the general manager ('12).

• Drew French has been promoted to pitching coach at Quad Cities after joining the Astros last season as pitching coach at Tri-City. Ben Rosenthal is joining the Astros as hitting coach at Quad Cities. Rosenthal, who had a four-year professional playing career as a catcher, was most recently the hitting coach at Point Loma University in San Diego.

• After spending the last eight seasons as Houston's hitting coach at the Class A Advanced level, Darryl Robinson has been promoted to Triple-A hitting coach. During his eight years with Lancaster, Robinson was part of two California League championship clubs ('12, '14).

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.