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Tue, 21 Aug 2012 10:46 PM EDT

Tony DeFrancesco helped Houston’s Triple-A affiliate find successful.

The Houston Astros hope he can do the same for their young, struggling major league club.

DeFrancesco was chosen as interim manager, a day after Brad Mills was fired.

“There’s going to be a dedication to excellence,” DeFrancesco announced. “Believe me; I’d like to be the guy that changes the environment around here. I grew up a winner, I had accomplishment in the minor leagues, and it is time for it to translate into the major league level. I’m sure I’m going to make mistakes, but that’s part of baseball.”

DeFrancesco managed Oklahoma City to a 67-60 record and has the RedHawks contending for a playoff spot this season. Houston entered Sunday with the worst record in the major leagues at 39-82.

He’s taking over an Astros club that is the youngest in the nation’s League at 26.5 years — and even younger than the Oklahoma City team, 27.3 years.

In his 3rd season running the Houston Astros, Mills was discharged Saturday night after Houston lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-4.

Hitting Coach Mike Barnett and 1st-base coach Bobby Meacham were let go with Mills. Dan Radison will take over meanwhile as 1st-base coach and Ty Van Burkleo will be the hitting coach.

GM Jeff Luhnow stated that he made the decision not to bring Mills back for next season roughly a week ago.

“Once that decision was made, it seemed to make a lot of sense to make these decisions sooner rather than later,” Luhnow asserted.

“We did not want to have a lame-duck administration and wished to get some new blood in here.”

Luhnow called DeFrancesco a winner, and the new manager is looking forward to improving this team.

“When you get your butt kicked daily, the players feel it,” DeFrancesco recounted. “They’re disappointed and the issue is, the following day they come to the stadium, and when you get your butt kicked on an everyday basis, it’s hard to open the door as you lack confidence. Hopefully, with some of the new coaches here and myself, we are able to change the attitude.”

The 49-year-old DeFrancesco has been a manager in the minor leagues for 17 seasons and managed Oklahoma City since 2011. He was the manager of Triple-A Sacramento for 7 seasons before joining Oklahoma City, where he won one Triple-A championship, 3 Pacific Coast League championships and 6 PCL Southern Division titles. Football betting lines

His only major league coaching experience came when he was Oakland’s 3rd base coach in 2008. DeFrancesco played for 9 seasons in the minors and appeared in 567 games, but never advanced past Triple-A.

Infielder Brett Wallace and a number of Astros are very familiar with DeFrancesco after playing for him in Oklahoma City this season.

“He’s passionate, he wants to win, and he’s definitely a good motivator,” Wallace asserted. “He’s always won, and he’s passionate for the game. He’ll need to make us the best we can be.”

The Astros selected Tom Lawless as their Triple-A boss after Sunday’s game. He’d been working as Houston’s minor league roving infield instructor.

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