HOUSTON -- Former Astros catcher Brad Ausmus confirmed in a text message to MLB.com that he interviewed for the Astros managerial position, but withdrew his name from consideration.
"I spoke with the Astros about the managerial position," Ausmus said in the text. "Had great meetings with [owner Jim] Crane and [general manager] Jeff Luhnow. Enjoyed discussing the possibility of rejoining the organization. But after careful consideration, decided for personal reasons to remove my name from consideration. I certainly wish them the best of luck."
Luhnow wouldn't confirm that Ausmus, 43, had interviewed for the job, saying that the team hadn't discussed any of the other candidates to this point.
Luhnow did say that the Astros had interviewed nine potential candidates and had recently cut that list down. He wouldn't reveal how many candidates are left on his short list.
"It's progressing," Luhnow said of the managerial search. "We feel very good about the process that we've undergone. We've met a lot of very high caliber candidates. We're hoping to be in a position relatively soon -- at the end of the weekend, early next week -- to narrow our list down even further. That's exciting. I can sense that we're getting close to the end."
Experience with American League baseball isn't necessarily a requirement.
"My sense is that it's more important if you're going from the American League to the National League," Luhnow said.
Candidates known to have interviewed for the job include Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, former Padres and Phillies manager Larry Bowa, Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar, Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter and Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco.
Ausmus played 10 seasons with the Astros and won three Gold Gloves. He is currently managing Israel in the World Baseball Classic.