The Astros announced two additions to their Major League coaching staff on Thursday that will take effect in 2021.
Houston hired assistant pitching coach Bill Murphy and quality control coach Dan Firova. Murphy’s position is a new one for the staff, while Firova replaces Chris Speier, who retired following the 2020 season.
Eight coaches will return to manager Dusty Baker’s staff this season: Michael Collins (coach), Alex Cintron (hitting coach), Joe Espada (bench coach), Omar Lopez (first-base coach), Josh Miller (pitching coach), Gary Pettis (third-base coach), Brent Strom (pitching coach) and Troy Snitker (hitting coach). Miller, who had served as bullpen coach from 2019-20, has shifted over to a more holistic role.
Murphy is new to the Major League staff, but not to the organization. He spent the past five seasons as a pitching coach and coordinator in the Astros’ Minor League system, and during that span, he worked with several pitchers who contributed to the big league club last year. That list includes Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier and Brandon Bielak.
Most recently, Murphy was the pitching coordinator for the 2019 and ’20 seasons. As a result of the pandemic, he spent '20 working with pitchers at the Astros’ alternate training site and then worked with the instructional camp in Florida in October.
Firova’s previous Major League coaching stint was for two seasons (2016-17) as the Nationals' bullpen coach, under Baker, who was the club’s manager at that time. The Nationals won the National League East in both 2016-17.
Prior to that, Firova enjoyed a long run of success as a manager for 19 seasons in the Mexican League, where he won three championships as skipper of the Mexico City Tigres (1997, 2000-01). During his career, Firova won more games in league history than any other non-native of Mexico. He ranks fourth all-time among all managers.
A native Texan, Firova was born in Refugio and played several seasons of professional baseball as a catcher after being picked by the Mariners in the second round of the 1980 January Draft (secondary phase). He reached the Majors for two brief stints with Seattle in '81-82, and for a one-game stint with the Indians in '88.