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Astros turn to Mills as manager

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  October 27, 2009 02:13 PM

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The Houston Astros have selected Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills as their next manager. The club introduced him at a news conference this afternoon at Minute Maid Field.

“There was no doubt in my mind we’ve made an outstanding selection,” general manager Ed Wade said. “We’re working toward being a champion. This is a huge step to getting good and staying good.”

Mills, manager Terry Francona's righthand man during his entire six-year tenure with the Red Sox, has no previous managerial experience in the majors, although he managed 11 seasons in the minor leagues with the Cubs, Rockies, and Dodgers organizations.

The 52-year-old completed a third round of interviews with Astros management on Monday, and was chosen over former Astros manager Phil Garner and interim manager Dave Clark, who replaced the fired Cecil Cooper Sept. 21.

"This organization, this city, has a very good name," Mills said. "They are first-class in how they do things."

The job was previously offered to former Nationals manager Manny Acta, who instead accepted the Cleveland Indians' managerial job.

Mills is the Astros' fifth manager since 2002. Houston has missed the postseason the last four years after going to the World Series in '05.

The Astros finished fifth in the NL Central with a 74-88 record this season.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona told the Globe's Amalie Benjamin via telephone this afternoon that he was thrilled for his friend, though he also will be dearly missed.

"He's wanted this," Francona said. "I'm so proud, not just of him, but for him. He's not going to shortchange anybody on effort. He embodies so much of what's good in our game. I'm so happy for him. This meant a lot to him, as it should. I'm so thrilled for him. How much we're going to miss him, sure, but it's so far outweighed by happiness."

Chad Finn of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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