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McLane proponent of Biggio's endeavor

McLane proponent of Biggio

HOUSTON -- Astros owner Drayton McLane fully supported Craig Biggio's decision to accept the baseball coaching position at St. Thomas High School, and said there would be no conflict with the former second baseman's new job and his commitment to the team as a special assistant to general manager Ed Wade.

Biggio, whose eldest son, Conor, plays baseball for St. Thomas, is expected to be named the head coach on Tuesday. The retired second baseman served as a volunteer assistant coach for the team this past season.

According to McLane, the coaching position is not a paid one, and as far as he's concerned, Biggio's newest endeavor falls under the "community service" window.

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"If this were a paid coaching position somewhere, I'd view it totally different," McLane said. "He is donating his time and his talent. This is what we're trying to promote with our current players for the 16 years I've been here -- to get them involved in community projects, where they're volunteering their time."

Biggio signed a three-year personal services contract with the Astros in February. His responsibilities include participating in the week-long Elite Hitting Camp in January, plus spending time at Spring Training, working with the Minor Leaguers and making appearances at select Astros games.

Although St. Thomas' practice and playing schedule may conflict slightly with his Spring Training commitments, McLane is willing to work around it. Biggio did not attend Spring Training this year.

"We talked that through, and he's still committed to being involved in Spring Training," McLane said, reiterating the community service viewpoint.

"We can't coach in all of the high schools in the Houston area," he continued. "But the uniqueness that both of Craig's sons are going to this Catholic High School, I think this is really going to be something meaningful for those players who will always be able to say they were coached by a Hall of Famer."

Biggio's former teammates expressed similar sentiments on Monday before their opener with the Cubs.

"There isn't a high school coach in the country who has as much knowledge of the game of baseball compared to Bidge," Brad Ausmus said. "He played for 20 years, he's a first ballot Hall of Famer, he played three different positions -- catcher, second base and center field, all primary defensive positions. What couldn't he tell them?"

"I'm glad I'm not in high school," Lance Berkman joked. "One thing I've always admired, he is great with kids. He seems to relate well to them. He knows the game. I don't want to say [St. Thomas] would be an idiot not to hire him, but if he wants to do the job, there's no reason why he shouldn't have that opportunity."

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

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