Extra Bases

Mills very much in mix for Astros

Could Terry Francona lose his bench coach?

Brad Mills is one of the four finalists to become manager in Houston. The others are current interim manager Dave Clark, former Nationals manager Manny Acta and former Astros manager Phil Garner.

Houston officials said they were very impressed with Mills and like the idea of his bringing an AL East mentality to their organization.

The decision comes down to this: If the Astros decide to stay within the family, it’ll be Clark or Garner. If not, Mills has a good shot.

The other variable is that Acta is a leading candidate in Cleveland along with Bobby Valentine and Don Mattingly.

The interest in Mills and John Farrell speaks to the quality of the coaching staff under Francona. At the same time, Theo Epstein is about to lose trusted assistant Jed Hoyer to the Padres.

That’s the price of success.

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Meanwhile, Cuban LHP Aroldis Chapman will meet with the Red Sox in Boston on Wednesday. There are many teams interested in the 21-year-old. Some scouts think he’s the best pitcher available on the market, others are expressing caution. Every large-market team will investigate Chapman and make their own determination.

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