Nationals third base coach Bo Porter was officially named the new manager of the Houston Astros on Thursday.
The move was first reported by FoxSports.com after Washington’s 8-4 win in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. Porter, 40, will remain with the Nationals through the rest of the season and then assume his duties with the Astros.
“I get to come home,” said Porter, who lives in Houston in the offseason and whose wife is from the area.
Porter has spent the past two years as the Nats third base coach under managers Jim Riggleman and Davey Johnson. He is a native of Newark, NJ and was an All-Big 10 selection in both baseball and football at the University of Iowa as a senior.
Porter interviewed with Houston on Sept. 13, an off day for Washington, and was one of 49 initial applicants that owner Jim Crane, team president George Postolos and general manager Jeff Luhnow quickly winnowed down to nine candidates before four finalists were chosen.
According to Luhnow, who spoke at a press conference in Houston on Thursday morning, that group flew to Philadelphia on Wednesday to offer Porter the job. The Nats are in town for a three-game series with the Phillies and Porter remained with the club and will continue to do so as it attempts to finish off a National League East title and prepare for the postseason later next week.
“[Porter is] involved in something pretty special – and I know because I was involved in it last year with St. Louis,” said Luhnow, who was vice president of player procurement for the Cardinals when they won the World Series in 2011. “And when you have a chance to help a team win a championship it’s something that it requires 100 percent of your focus.”
Luhnow says his team will have minimal contact with Porter before Washington’s season ends and thanked the organization’s front office for allowing an employee to both interview and accept a position during the season. Porter was the Astros’ first choice and the only person offered the job, Luhnow said.
Porter had previously interviewed for open managerial positions with the Nats, the Miami Marlins, twice, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. His interview in Washington came last fall during the organization’s process to make Johnson the full-time manager after he took over from Jim Riggleman midseason in 2011.
Washington general manager Mike Rizzo released a statement on Porter Thursday morning:
“Bo Porter joined our staff in 2011 to instruct and coach our young players in how to play the game right, and in how to win. He has been invaluable to us and our drive toward our first postseason. Despite his obvious value, we allowed and encouraged Bo to meet with his hometown Houston Astros to pursue his dream to manage in the major leagues. He is smart, talented, and as fiery a competitor as there is in the game today. Bo will always be a member of the Nationals family, and we wish him every success with the Astros.”
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