MILWAUKEE -- With Bo Porter coming on board as manager when the Nationals' playoff run is over, the current Astros coaching staff is in limbo. No one is sure if they're returning next year as the Astros move to the American League.
Bench coach Joe Pettini, who joined the Astros prior this season after working for 10 seasons under Tony La Russa with the Cardinals, said he would like to remain on the staff.
"It was fun with this young club," he said. "It wasn't so much fun losing so many as we have, but it's always fun working with younger guys and seeing guys develop. Some guys turn into everyday players and some guys might not make it or stay here. That's the growing pains in the organization.
"Yeah, I would [like to stay]. I'm 57 years old and have 11 years as a coach at the big league level and a few as a player, and I'm not quite ready to retire yet. I'd like to do it a few more years."
Pitching coach Doug Brocail, 45, is in his first full season after taking over midway through the 2011 campaign for Brad Arnsberg. Since retiring as a player following the 2009 season, Brocail has remained in the organization in a variety of roles.
"Of course, I'd love to be back," he said. "I love this job, but we have a lot of work to do. I'd like to see it through. I don't know what their thoughts are. Nobody's talked about it, but if they want to sit down and talk, I'd love to be back. We all know we have a ton of work to do, we all know there's a plan in place, and that plan needs to be followed to a T, and I hope I'm the guy and they have confidence in me."
Third-base coach Dave Clark and bullpen coach Craig Bjornson were on the staff to start the season, while first-base coach Dan Radison and hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo took over in August. Radison knows Porter well, having spent time with him in Washington and with the Cubs.
"He'll be great," Radison said. "I was an advocate for him when they asked me early on. He's a great baseball mind and to me, even more than that. There's no phoniness about him. He's a straight-shooter, an honest guy, a high-character guy. I love the guy. I think he'll be great."
DeFrancesco proud to serve at helm of Astros
MILWAUKEE -- Tony DeFrancesco, who was passed over for the Astros' full-time managerial job, said Friday he was glad to have the opportunity to manage the team for the final 41 games of season and hopes to remain on the staff of incoming manager Bo Porter.
"I'm very proud of being an Astro manager and taking over the team," he said. "I thought we turned it around a little bit. Our goal right now is to get to .500 for the month of September (the Astros were 11-13 in September entering Friday)."
General manager Jeff Luhnow informed DeFrancesco of the club's decision following Wednesday night's game.
DeFrancesco was one of four finalists for the job, which eventually went to Porter. The current third-base coach for the Nationals, Porter will join the Astros when Washington's playoff run is over. DeFrancesco, who began this year managing at Triple-A Oklahoma City, will remain in the organization.
"They made the right choice," DeFrancesco said. "Bo was the guy they wanted and there were no regrets on my part. No regrets on Jeff when he told me the other day that they were going to go with Bo. I'm real happy just to get an opportunity, and now, hopefully, I'm going to remain in the organization at some point. We're not sure what it is yet."
DeFrancesco, who has a 1,235-1,088 career record as a manager in the Minor Leagues, would like to be on Porter's staff. It's unclear which members of the current coaching staff are going to remain, however.
"That's up to [owner] Jim [Crane] and Jeff and Bo to decide if that's something available," he said. "I think I do have the option of going back to Oklahoma City and [heading] the Triple-A team again to manage that. But there might be other avenues down the road for me -- if it's somewhere in the front office or in player development or a special assistant or something that route, maybe that's a direction I could go."
Players looking forward to Porter era in Houston
MILWAUKEE -- Considering the Astros are the youngest team in baseball, the players don't know much about the man who will be leading them into the American League next year. Most of the information the players acquired about incoming manager Bo Porter stemmed from news articles or talks with friends.
"I know he's a real knowledgeable guy about the game and will definitely bring a new look to the Houston Astros," pitcher Lucas Harrell said.
Outfielder Justin Maxwell used to play with the Nationals, but that was before Porter became the third-base coach in Washington. Maxwell said his former teammates who were on the team with Porter said he was a high-energy guy.
Catcher Jason Castro also got feedback from players he knows in the game.
"Everybody's pretty excited," he said. "I personally don't know him, but I've heard good things. I reached out to a couple of people I know that have played in that organization and they all have great things to say about him. We are definitely excited to get to know him, and from what I hear he's real passionate and an intense guy, and that will be an exciting guy to play for."
Harrell is looking forward to meeting Porter.
"We'll be going to the American League and we'll have a new manager, and I hope I get to meet him before Spring Training and I can talk to him a little bit, get a feel for him and what his style is and kind get to know him so we can have a relationship and build a winning team here next year," he said.
Texas skipper Washington an advocate for Porter
MILWAUKEE -- The hiring of Bo Porter to be the Astros' 17th manager was met with approval from Ron Washington, who manages the Texas Rangers and will play Houston 19 times next year when the teams are aligned in the American League West.
Washington was on the staff of the Oakland A's in 2000, when Porter was a player.
"I know Bo well," Washington said. "He's a very good baseball man. He cares about his players. He was a player-coach. He was one of those guys who is always willing to share his experiences in the game. I'm happy he got an opportunity to manage. He'll do a good job. He's honest, he's fair and he knows the game. He'll work hard. He'll be a working manager."
Some of the Astros' success in the next few years will depend on how they do against the Rangers, but Washington thinks Porter is a good fit in Houston.
"He'll blaze his own trail and get those guys to play the game the way it should be played," he said. "He'll surround himself with good people and go to work."
Porter called Washington last winter for tips on how to be a good third-base coach. "I'll be around to answer anything," he said. "It will certainly be from the heart, because my credibility is at stake. But he's a friend."