Astros tab Rodney Linares as manager of AAA Fresno affiliate

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    Rodney Linares, who managed Class AA Corpus Christi the last three seasons, will manage the Astros’ Class AAA Fresno affiliate in 2018, the team said Friday.Linares, 40, has 11 seasons of minor league managerial experience with the Astros. He managed Astros affiliates in the California, South Atlantic and Appalachian Leagues before assuming the role with Corpus Christi of the Texas League. At the helm of Class AAA Fresno, Linares will replace Tony DeFrancesco, who wasn’t retained after the expiration of his contract last fall The New York Mets have since hired DeFrancesco as the manager of their Class AAA Las Vegas affiliate. DeFrancesco was the Astros’ Class AAA manager the last seven seasons.Replacing Linares on the bench in Class AA will be Omar Lopez, who managed the Astros’ Advanced Class A affiliate the previous two seasons. Over all, this will be Linares’ 21st season with the Astros. His father, Julio, is a senior advisor in player development on the international side. Lopez, 41, is entering his 20th season with the Astros. Morgan Ensberg, the former Astros third baseman who made his managerial debut last year with short-season Class A Tri-City, will take over for Lopez as the manager of Advanced Class A Buies Creek. Mickey Storey, a reliever for the Astros in 2012, will be the new manager of their low Class A Quad Cities affiliate. Storey was a development coach last year with Buies Creek. Jason Bell, the development coach last year with Quad Cities, will manage short-season Tri-City.Wladimir Sutil returns as the manager of the Astros’ rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate. Charlie Romero will manage their rookie-level club in the Dominican Summer League. The Astros have four minor league coordinators who will rove around their farm system, a group that interestingly enough doesn’t include a hitting coordinator. Josh Miller will be their pitching coordinator, Chris Holt their assistant pitching coordinator, Josh Bonifay their field coordinator and Mark Bailey their catching coordinator.Bonifay, a former Astros minor league manager and coach, returned to the team after spending last season as the Texas Rangers’ major league field coordinator.

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