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ASTROS FIRE MANAGER WITH 13 GAMES LEFT

Compiled from Times wires

HOUSTON - The Astros fired manager Cecil Cooper on Monday with 13 games left in another disappointing season.

Third base coach Dave Clark was named interim manager. The Astros subsequently fell to 70-80 after losing to the Cardinals.

General manager Ed Wade said the change couldn't wait until the end of the season. He added that more changes could be coming for a franchise just four years removed from its only World Series appearance.

"We're tasked with evaluating all aspects of our situation," Wade said. "At the end of the day, we're going to try to address those off-field issues that exist. We're not walking away from it. The issue we had to address here, in the short term, was the managerial issue and that's why we moved forward."

Cooper, 59, was hired on Aug. 27, 2007, to replace Phil Garner. Houston went 171-170 under Cooper, who was the bench coach under Garner from 2005-07.

Cooper was the fourth manager fired this season, all in the NL. Arizona dismissed Bob Melvin on May 7, Colorado replaced Clint Hurdle on May 29 and Washington fired Manny Acta on July 13.

Wade said Clark would be considered a candidate during the search for a new manager. Cooper did not return calls.

Wade, owner Drayton McLane and president of baseball operations Tal Smith met with Cooper in his office on Monday afternoon to give him the news.

The Astros were on the fringes of the wild-card race around midseason but faded and now have lost eight in a row.

BRADLEY SUSPENSION: The Major League Baseball Players Association is considering filing a grievance to challenge the Cubs' suspension of OF Milton Bradley, the union's general counsel, Michael Weiner, told ESPN.com. However, the Cubs have yet to issue a formal notice of the suspension to either Bradley, his agents or the union.

Chicago suspended Bradley for the rest of the season Sunday, one day after he criticized the team in a newspaper interview. The Cubs called up former first-round draft pick Tyler Colvin to replace Bradley on the roster. They also activated OF Reed Johnson from the 15-day disabled list. He had been out since July 30 after breaking his left foot.

PROSPECT CHARGED: Top Giants prospect Angel Villalona was charged with murder in the shooting death of a 25-year-old man at a bar in his native Dominican Republic. Villalona, 19, wore a bulletproof vest Monday to his hearing at a court in the city of La Romana. He pleaded not guilty. He could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty in the Saturday night death of Mario Felix de Jesus Velete.

CUBAN STAR NEARLY ON MARKET:LHP Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban defector considered to be one of the world's top pitching prospects, petitioned Major League Baseball for free-agency status recently and is likely weeks from becoming a free agent, his agent, Edwin Mejia, told ESPN. Chapman, 21, has established residency in Andorra and won't be subject to baseball's amateur draft.

BLUE JAYS: SS Marco Scutaro will likely miss the rest of the season after an MRI exam revealed a tear in his right heel.

GIANTS: 2B Freddy Sanchez left the game against the Diamondbacks in the first with a twisted left knee. There was no word on the severity.

RED SOX: RHP Junichi Tazawa went on the 60-day disabled list with a mild left groin strain. INF Chris Woodward was added to the active roster from Triple-A Pawtucket.

TWINS: CF Denard Span was hit in the helmet by a pitch from White Sox reliever Randy Williams in the sixth and left the game. The team said the former Tampa Catholic standout had a slight headache.

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