Astros hire Wallace to help pitchers take off

Updated: November 14, 2006, 2:51 PM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros hired Dave Wallace as their pitching coach Tuesday, replacing the fired Jim Hickey.

Wallace, 59, had been Boston's pitching coach since 2003. He previously served in the same capacity with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1995-97 and the New York Mets in 2000.

Wallace served as a minor league pitching coach for the Dodgers from 1981-94, including stints with Single-A Vero Beach (1981-82), Double-A San Antonio (1983), Triple-A Albuquerque (1984-86), and as the organization's minor league pitching instructor from 1987-94.

"Dave has a remarkable background as a successful pitching coach at all levels of the game," said Astros general manager Tim Purpura. "He will serve as a key member of our staff as we work toward our goal of returning to the playoffs in 2007."

Wallace also spent several seasons in the Dodgers' front office, including a brief stint as interim general manager from April to October 2001. He also served as a special assistant to the general manager in the offseason of 2000 and as the senior vice president of baseball operations during the 2002 season.

"I am excited to join an organization that has such a strong winning tradition," Wallace said. "The Astros have always had a high standard for pitching, and I look forward to working with such a talented group."

Hickey was fired Oct. 4, even though the Astros had the NL's second-lowest ERA (4.08) last season and tied the Mets for the most shutouts with 12.

Purpura said he was disappointed Hickey didn't get more out of the team's younger pitchers. Aces Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt and Andy Pettitte went a combined 36-27, but rookie starters Taylor Buchholz, Matt Albers, Jason Hirsh and Chris Sampson went 11-17.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press