Lawless is Astros’ interim manager
The Houston Astros fired manager Bo Porter on Monday, saying the dismissal had less to do with the team’s 59-79 record than the need for “new direction” and a “united message throughout the entire organization.” Porter was in his second season with the Astros and was succeeded by interim manager Tom Lawless, a former Cardinal who had been working in Houston’s minor-league system. His first game in charge is tonight at home against the first-place Los Angeles Angels.
Lawless, said he always had wanted to manage in the big leagues. “That’s why you stay in the game,” he said. “That’s why I’ve been in the game 25 years (after playing). Sometimes, it just takes longer for some than for others.”
Lawless, who hit only two regular-season homers in his eight big-league seasons in which he had a .207 batting average, is best known for flipping his bat after hitting a three-run home run off Frank Viola in the 1987 World Series. He was the interim manager at Triple-A Oklahoma City this season when manager Tony DeFrancesco was on medical leave.
Adam Everett, who was also working in the minors, will replace Dave Trembley as bench coach. Trembley also was fired.
Brewers • Outfielder Carlos Gomez was out of the lineup a day after he felt something pop in his left wrist during a swing Sunday. Manager Ron Roenicke said the injury had improved and was hopeful that Gomez would only be out a few days.
Porter joined the Astros after working as a third-base coach for the Washington Nationals. The Astros went a franchise-worst 51-111 in his first season for their third straight 100-loss season.
General manager Jeff Luhnow, a former Cardinals executive, said the decision was not based on “our current level of competitiveness.” The Astros entered Monday in fourth place in the AL West with the second-worst record in the league.
“I recognize that our win-loss record is largely a product of an organizational strategy for which I am responsible,” Luhnow said in a statement. “Rather, I made this decision because I believe we need a new direction in our clubhouse.”
Luhnow refused repeatedly to get into more detail about why Porter was let go as he fielded questions for almost 25 minutes.
“Once you make a decision it is in everyone’s best interest to move it along,” he said. “It’s easier to wait until the end of the season in some respects, but it’s not fair to Bo and it’s not fair to us.”
Owner Jim Crane said the firing was “not an easy decision to make.” It comes following recent reports citing sources who said Luhnow and Porter were not getting along. Luhnow wouldn’t address those rumors other than to say that there were “numerous inaccuracies” in the reports.
“What we will seek going forward is a consistent and united message throughout the entire organization,” Luhnow said. “It is essential that as an organization we create an atmosphere at the major league level where our young players can come up and continue to develop and succeed.
Porter was the first managerial hiring in Luhnow’s tenure, and he was unhappy it didn’t work out. He said many people will help in the hunt for a new manager and noted that Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, who re-joined the team in February as a special assistant following a stint with the Rangers, will be among them.