Tony DeFrancesco named interim manager

HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros have named Tony DeFrancesco their interim manager for the remainder of the 2012 season. The club also named Dan Radison as their first base coach and Ty Van Burkleo as their hitting coach. The announcement was made by Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow.

“The goal is to find the best staff we can possibly assemble to take us to the next level,” said Luhnow. “We want to move forward and win as many games as we can the rest of this year and put ourselves in a position to have a successful 2013 and beyond.”

DeFrancesco joins the club from Triple A Oklahoma City, where he’s managed the RedHawks since 2011. This season, DeFrancesco has led the RedHawks, who are in contention for a playoff spot, to a 67-60 record. The 2012 season was DeFrancesco’s 17th as a minor league manager and is his 26th season as a player, coach or manager in professional baseball.

Prior to joining Oklahoma City, DeFrancesco was with Triple A Sacramento in Oakland’s organization, where he served seven seasons (2003-07, 2009-10), managing the River Cats to six first-place finishes in the Pacific Coast League Southern Division. DeFrancesco also has Major League coaching experience, having served as the Athletics’ third base coach in 2008.

Radison, who joined the club as a special assistant to the G.M./player development prior to this season, has over 30 years of professional experience as a player, Major League coach, minor league manager and coordinator. Before joining the Astros, he spent the 2010-11 seasons as the first base coach for the Washington Nationals. He was the Cardinals minor league hitting coordinator for three seasons (2007-09) and was also a first and third-base coach for the Cubs from 1995-99 and a first base coach for the Padres from 1993-94.

Van Burkleo was serving as the club’s minor league hitting coordinator, a position he’s held since last season. Prior to joining Houston’s organization, Van Burkleo coached in the Major Leagues for four seasons, which included the 2007-08 seasons as Oakland’s hitting coach and the 2009-10 seasons as Seattle’s bench coach. Prior to his Major League stops, Van Burkleo spent six seasons (2001-06) as the roving hitting instructor for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Last night, the Astros announced that the club had relieved Manager Brad Mills, Hitting Coach Mike Barnett and First Base Coach Bobby Meacham of their duties.

DeFrancesco, Radison and Van Burkleo are all in uniform for today’s game.