Rumors and outside reports about the Astros new coaching staff trickled down this week. There is now, official word on the Astros' new staff. General manager Jeff Luhnow has announced Trey Hillman will be the bench coach, former Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens will join the Astros in the same capacity, Gary Pettis will fill the same position he had with his former team as the Rangers as third base coach and outfield/baserunning instructor, and Rich Dauer joins the staff as first base coach and infield instructor. Brent Strom and Craig Bjornson both return to their previous positions, Strom as pitching coach and Bjornson as bullpen coach.
The hiring of Hillman and Pettis were previous reported, but the additions of Hudgens and Dauer is breaking new ground.
Dave Hudgens has spent eight combined years as a Major League hitting coach, most recently as Mets hitting coach for the past four season. This will be his second stint with the Astros, Hudgens served as a roving hitting instructor from 1989-1995. Hudgens played six season of Minor League baseball, reaching the majors with the Athletics in 1983.
Rich Dauer served as the head coach for the Double-A San Antonio Missions for the past two seasons. He has coached in the Major Leagues for 15 years between the Indians, Royals, Brewers, and Rockies. Dauer won a World Series championship (1983) during his ten-year major league career with the Orioles, and two College World Series championships (1973, 1974) while at University of Southern California.
There was no surprise in the fact that Brent Strom was retained, who still had another year on his contract. The return of Strom and Bjornson keep intact the voice for the young but maturing Astros pitching staff.
The coaching staff now set, the focus turns to the rule-five draft and free agency.