As he attempts to prove heâs a worthy candidate for the Houston Astrosâ managerial vacancy, interim manager Tony DeFrancesco is attempting to capitalize on one of lifeâs basic truths: Kids like new, shiny toys.
DeFrancesco has a friend in the electronics business, and the friend gave him a selection of $200 headphones to give to the player of the game after every Astros win. But since wins are few and far between in Houston these days, he loads up on days like Wednesdayâs 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs.
âToday was a thousand-dollar day,â he said, smiling.
Astros officials disclosed Monday that they have begun interviewing six to eight candidates to be the 2013 replacement for Brad Mills, who was fired last month. DeFrancesco, who was brought up from Class AAA Oklahoma City, is one of the candidates, and every win helps his cause.
âI hope my presence on the field right now, the experience Iâm getting right now, can lead me to a permanent position,â he said. âI know I can do the job. When Iâm in the clubhouse with the guys and talking with the staff and players, Iâm excited about the opportunity. I feel confident with what Iâm doing on the bench. I donât feel any pressure.â
One element in DeFrancescoâs favor may be his familiarity, dating back to his tenure managing the Class AAA Sacramento team in the Oakland Aâs organization, with the data-driven mind-set favored by Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.
âI grew up with that system, we implemented it in the minor leagues, and I believe in it 100 percent,â he said. âI hope we can translate it to the young players.
âThe reason weâre making outs is that were chasing balls out of the zone and not being selective. If we can increase our on-base percentage, work the count, get the starting pitcher out of the game, that comes into play when trying to win games.â
DeFrancesco would not disclose when he will have his official job interview with Luhnow and Astros owner Jim Crane.