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Espada adds two new coaches to Astros staff, promotes Lopez to bench coach

Joe Espada Jose Abreu Houston Astros Joe Espada Jose Abreu - The Canadian Press

HOUSTON (AP) — New Houston Astros manager Joe Espada has completed his coaching staff, retaining most of the group from last season and adding Dave Clark as first base coach and Jason Bell as quality assurance coach.

Omar López, who had been the team's first base coach since 2020, was promoted to bench coach. He managed Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic in 2023. The 46-year-old was named Texas League manager of the year in 2018 when he led Double-A Corpus Christi to an 82-56 record and playoff berth.

The 61-year-old Clark returned to the Astros after serving as the team's third base coach from 2009-12 and first base coach in 2013. He was Houston's interim manager for the last 13 games of the 2009 season after Cecil Cooper was fired. The 13-year MLB veteran spent seven seasons on the Detroit Tigers coaching staff after leaving Houston.

Bell has been in the Astros organization for seven seasons and has been the team's minor league field coordinator since 2019 and was also the assistant director of player development last season.

Espada was hired last month to replace Dusty Baker, who retired after four seasons with the Astros.

Gary Pettis will return for his 10th season as third base coach and hitting coach Alex Cintrón will be back for his eighth season on the staff. Pitching coach Josh Miller and hitting coach Troy Snitker will both return for their sixth seasons with the Astros. Michael Collins returned as the coaching coach and Bill Murphy is back as a pitching coach. Assistant hitting coach Jason Kanzler is back for a third season with the big league team and Tommy Kawamura returned for his second season as game planning coach.