Astros add trio of coaches on Friday

Astros add trio of coaches on Friday

HOUSTON -- The Astros have only one vacancy remaining on their coaching staff after announcing Friday they had hired Brad Arnsberg to be pitching coach, Al Pedrique to be bench coach and Bobby Meacham to be first-base coach on new manager Brad Mills' staff.

Mills, who was hired on Tuesday to lead the Astros in 2010, is still in search for a bullpen coach, but he has filled the key positions on the staff with Sean Berry returning as hitting coach and managerial finalist Dave Clark returning as third-base coach.

"I'm very happy to be able to put a staff like this together," Mills said. "We're getting experience, knowledge and guys that have a passion for the game. They know how to teach a team. I think it's going to be a great staff."

Arnsberg, 46, comes to the Astros after serving as pitching coach with the Toronto Blue Jays for the previous five seasons, where he had a close relationship Roy Halladay. He also has experience as pitching coach with Montreal (2000) and Florida (2002). In 2008, Toronto had the best ERA for starters and relievers in the Majors.

"Brad's got great credentials," Houston general manager Ed Wade said. "We were really excited when we found out he was available. There were some unresolved issues, and they gave him a chance to go out and look around, and he very quickly moved up to the top of our list, and we were able to bring it to closure. He has a lot of experience with young pitchers and veterans."

Arnsberg is a native of Arlington who pitched six seasons in the Majors, spending time with the New York Yankees (1986-87), Texas Rangers (1989-91) and Cleveland Indians (1992). He was 9-6 with a 4.26 ERA in 94 games.

"I am elated and excited to join the Astros family," Arnsberg said. "I want to give a special thanks to the Toronto Blue Jays for everything they have done for me over the last five years and for understanding that I am closing one chapter of my life and opening another.

"I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the amount of confidence that [owner] Drayton McLane, Ed Wade, Brad Mills and [assistant general manager] Dave Gottfried had in me to entrust me with this group of Astros pitchers, and I promise not to let them down."

Pedrique, one of 10 people to interview for the managerial job that went to Mills, just completed his fifth year in the Astros organization. He joined the team in 2004 as special assistant to general manager Tim Purpura and last season served as Minor League field coordinator.

"I'm very happy and thrilled that Brad Mills has given the opportunity and the Astros have given me the chance to work with Brad Mills, and I'm sure it's going to be an exciting year," Pedrique said. "I know we have a lot of work to do, and it's an important part of the job. Mills is doing a great job putting the coaching staff together, and I'm sure there will be a good chance to hopefully turn this organization around."

Pedrique was suggested to Mills by Wade, but it didn't take much for Mills to be sold on him. Pedrique was named interim manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second half of the 2004 season after opening the year as the team's third-base coach. A native of Venezuela, he has more than 31 years of experience in baseball as a player, coach and manager.

"[Mills] just didn't hear it from me, but he sat down with [assistant general managers] Ricky Bennett and David Gottfried and [president of baseball operations] Tal Smith and talked about him," Wade said. "He was convinced Al would be a very good fit. If he had strong feelings about other candidates we were open-minded. He was pretty emphatic as long as we felt comfortable."

Meacham, 49, joins the Astros organization after previously serving as a coach for the Phillies' Class A affiliate in Williamsport, Pa., in 2009. Prior to that role, he spent three years as a Major League coach with the Yankees (third base), Padres (first base) and Marlins (third base).

In 17 years since 1992, Meacham has served in various roles as a manager, roving infield instructor and roving base running coach for the Colorado Rockies (1993, 2005), Anaheim Angels (2002-04), Pittsburgh Pirates (1994-2001) and Kansas City Royals (1992). He played six years in the Majors with the Yankees and hit .236 in 457 games.

"Having a guy with Bobby's knowledge and expertise working with our infielders and to have his experience as a Major League coach is extremely valuable," said Mills, who had Meacham on his staff while managing at Triple-A Colorado Springs in 1993.

Wade got a ringing endorsement for Meacham from New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

"I made several phone calls because I was familiar with his career, but I didn't have any first-hand knowledge of Bobby," Wade said. "Brian said he's one of the classiest guys he's ever been around. I have respect for what Brian has done in New York, obviously. Knowing that Millsie felt strongly about him made it easy for us."

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