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Houston promotes manager from minors

HOUSTON — Tony DeFrancesco helped Houston's Triple-A affiliate find success.

The Astros hope he can do the same for their young, struggling major-league club.

DeFrancesco was chosen interim manager Sunday, a day after Brad Mills was fired.

"There's going to be a commitment to excellence," DeFrancesco said. "Believe me, I want to be the guy that changes the environment around here. I grew up a winner, I had success in the minor leagues, and it's time for it to translate to the major league level. I'm sure I'm going to make mistakes, but that's part of baseball."

DeFrancesco, 49, managed Oklahoma City to a 67-60 record and has the RedHawks contending for a playoff spot this season. Houston has the worst record in the majors at 39-83.

He takes over an Astros club that is the youngest in the National League at 26.5 years, even younger than the Oklahoma City team, 27.3 years.

In his third season running the Astros, Mills was dismissed Saturday night.

Hitting coach Mike Barnett and first-base coach Bobby Meacham were also let go. Dan Radison will take over in the interim as first-base coach and Ty Van Burkleo will be the hitting coach.

General manager Jeff Luhnow said he made the decision not to bring Mills back for next season about a week ago.

"Once that decision was made, it made a lot of sense to make these decisions sooner rather than later," Luhnow said. "We didn't want to have a lame-duck administration and wanted to get some new blood in here."

He told Mills on Saturday that he was being let go in what was about an hour-long meeting.

"I have a great deal of respect for Brad, and he's a great baseball manager," Luhnow said. "He'll have a long career moving forward. To a certain extent, I sensed some relief, but I'm not going to speak for him. It's been tough."

CRAWFORD DECISION: Red Sox LF Carl Crawford is expected to have reconstructive elbow surgery Tuesday to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, ESPN reported.

Manager Bobby Valentine had previously said that the team would meet with Crawford and team doctors today to decide whether the former Rays All-Star would have the season-ending surgery. ESPN reported that Crawford was reluctant to tell the Red Sox he would like to shut it down because of how that would be perceived.

Crawford, in his second season with Boston, missed most of the season with wrist and elbow injuries and has been playing in pain since he returned.

DOME DELAY: The Brewers and Phillies were delayed seven minutes by rain in the first inning because the retractable roof at Milwaukee's Miller Park was open when it began to pour. The rain started in the top of the first inning and turned harder with the Brewers batting in the bottom half. Umpires stopped the game as the roof slid closed, but it takes about 10 minutes for the roof to fully shut.

MARLINS: OF Emilio Bonifacio, who missed 46 games with an injured left thumb, and INF Donnie Murphy, who missed 14 with a strained left hamstring, were activated from the 15-day disabled list.

PIRATES: Rookie OF Starling Marte went on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right oblique muscle. OF Jose Tabata was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.

ROCKIES: OF Michael Cuddyer went on the 15-day disabled list because of a right oblique strain. … OF Eric Young left the game in the second inning with a strain in his left ribcage.

Houston promotes manager from minors 08/19/12 [Last modified: Sunday, August 19, 2012 9:32pm]
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