Coming off a franchise-worst 111 losses and ending the 2013 season Sunday on a franchise-record 15-game losing streak, it was apparent the Astros would make changes on the coaching staff.
On Tuesday Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow announced that first base coach Dave Clark and bullpen coach Dennis Martinez were out, and pitching coach Doug Brocail has been named special assistant to Luhnow. Brocail will also serve as the club’s senior pitching adviser.
First –year Astros manager Bo Porter was retained.
“It was a tough year on the field this year at the major league level, despite the significant progress in continuing to build our player pipeline,” said Luhnow. “Bo and I discussed how we can improve next year and came to the conclusion that bringing in a few new and different voices would help.”
Brocail, 46, spent two full seasons as the Astros pitching coach after taking over the position on an interim basis in June of 2011. Prior to that, Brocail served nearly two years (2010-11) as a special assistant to the Astros general manager.
In a professional career that spanned 1986-2009, Brocail had three stints in Houston (1995-96, 2001, 2008-09). A resident of Missouri City, Brocail has been with the organization in some capacity, as a player, special assistant or coach, since 2008.
“In Doug’s new role, he will assist me in overseeing and guiding our pitchers and pitching coaches across the organization,” said Luhnow. “His experience these last three years as a major league pitching coach combined with his many years as a player makes him ideal for this role.”
Clark, 51, spent five consecutive seasons on the Astros coaching staff, serving as the third base coach for four seasons (2009-12) and the club’s first base coach in 2013.
“The Astros thank Dave Clark for his many years of service to the organization and wish him the best going forward,” said Luhnow.
Martinez, 58, was with the Astros for the 2013 season, serving as the bullpen coach. Prior to joining the organization, Martinez worked as a pitching coach in the St. Louis Cardinals system for six seasons.
“We want our new pitching coach to be involved in selecting his bullpen coach, since they work so closely together.” said Luhnow.