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OTHER ITA SITES:
Changes for the Houston Astros
The Houston Astros extended Phil Garner�s contract for one more year so he will manage the team through the 2008 season. The contract establishes that his duties with the Astros will conclude after the next season.
Tim Purpura who is the team�s General Manager said he feels very comfortable working with Garner and that it has increased during the last season even though the Astros didn�t make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2003.
Houston�s baseball team is 219-179 in 2� seasons since they have Garner as their manager. The Astros have won 10 of their last 12 games to go 82-80 this year; with these results they are finishing 1� game behind Saint Louis Cardinals in the National League Central.
This is Garner�s 14th season as a big league manager and he declares to be having a good time with a competitive team that will remain competitive for many years to come. Drayton McLane Jr. who is the Astros owner said that Garner has made a great contribution to the team�s recent success. He also said that thanks to Phil Garner they have come closer to the goal of bringing a World Series Championship to town more than any other moment in the history of the franchise.
On the other hand the Astros fired Jim Hickey the team�s pitching coach who had been with the team since Phil Garner became manager. Although they kept Mark Bailey (bullpen coach), Sean Berry (hitting coach), Cecil Cooper (bench coach), Jose Cruz (first base coach) and Doug Mansolino (third base coach).
Tim Purpura declared to be disappointed on Hickey because he didn�t get more out of the squad�s younger pitchers.
Purpura announced on Wednesday that the Houston Astros are close to re-signing free agent second baseman Craig Biggio. The player is 40 years old and seven times All-Star. He is supposed to start his 20th season with Houston only 70 hits away from 3,000.
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