Boston assistants interview with Astros
Mills, Bogar bring Francona's influence with them
HOUSTON -- Astros general manager Ed Wade has often said dismissing Terry Francona as manager in Philadelphia was the biggest mistake he's made in his professional career, and on Monday he turned to a pair of Francona disciples in an effort to fill the Astros' managerial vacancy.
Boston Red Sox coaches Brad Mills and Tim Bogar were the final candidates from a group of 10 to interview for the position in a span of six days with Wade, assistant general managers Ricky Bennett, David Gottfried and Bobby Heck and special assistant Enos Cabell.
"It's an honor, actually," Bogar said. "Being here as a player was fantastic, but having a chance to come back here on the other side of it is wonderful. Obviously, when I was here, we got to the playoffs those three years as division champs. Hopefully, I'll have the chance to manage here and we'll go a little farther than that."
Wade said Monday the remainder of the Astros' managerial search will be done in private. Houston made the interview schedules of each candidate public and made each available to the media after they interviewed, but he said the team's next public announcement in the process will be the hiring of a manager.
"We've been open on this thing, but I don't want it to get to the point of 'Dancing With The Stars,'" Wade said, referring to the reality TV show that votes off contestants as the program progresses.
The Astros' interview committee will sit down later this week and discuss the 30 hours they spent interviewing candidates in the first round and invite some of the candidates back for the second round, which will likely include club owner Drayton McLane.
"At this stage we're comfortable with a real solid group of candidates, and our next manager should come out of this group, but we need to continue the process," Wade said.
Mills and Bogar joined eight others who have interviewed: interim manager Dave Clark; Astros Minor League field coordinator Al Pedrique; former Milwaukee manager Ned Yost; San Diego hitting coach Randy Ready; former Seattle and Arizona manager Bob Melvin; Philadelphia bench coach Pete Mackanin; former Washington manager Manny Acta; and former Astros manager Phil Garner.
Mills just completed his sixth season as bench coach under Francona with the Red Sox, during which he's helped Boston win two World Series titles.
"I might be a little prejudiced, but I think Terry's one of the best managers in the game today," Mills said. "One of the reasons is because his work ethic is second to none. He plans and prepares each day with the players. That's one of the things I'm going to take with me -- his knowledge of the game, the way he manages a game, the way he runs a game, the way he works with the press, the way he works in the community and the way he works with the organizations.
"Those types of things really make him stand out from other guys that I know or I have seen. Those are all traits that I've taken from him and learned from him."
Mills, 52, managed 11 seasons in the Minor Leagues with the Cubs (1987-92), Rockies (1993-96) and Dodgers (2002), moving into managing immediately upon the completion of his playing career. He's coached 11 years at the Major League level, including the last six as Boston's bench coach.
"There's things that I was able to learn from everybody that I've been with," Mills said. "I think it's the next step with the experience that I have."
Bogar, 45, spent four of his nine Major League seasons as a player with the Astros, helping Houston reach the playoffs three consecutive years (1997-99). He managed for four seasons in the Minor Leagues, including two with the Astros, and advanced to the postseason three times.
Bogar managed within the Houston organization at Class A Greeneville in '04 and Class A Lexington in '05 and then managed for two years in Cleveland's system. He spent 2008 as the quality assurance coach for Tampa Bay before joining Francona's staff this year.
"Well, if you look at it from an outsider's perspective, I'm probably the one with the least amount of experience," Bogar said. "But what I tell everybody is that experience is what you make of it. I sat on the bench a lot as a player and you could have sat there and not paid attention. But what I did is I paid attention to what was going on on the field and what my manager was doing to try to put his players in the best position possible.
"That being said, I also watched the other manager on the other side and tried to gain experience from that. So I've been at the Major League level for only two years as a coach, but I feel like I've been at two great places in the Tampa Bay Rays as quality assurance coach there and going to the World Series, and grabbing the experience of that, and also being in Boston."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.