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Astros taking their time deciding staff

HOUSTON -- The Astros are in the market for a new bench coach.

Joe Pettini, who spent last season as the bench coach under manager Brad Mills, confirmed in a text message to on Thursday he will not return next year. Pettini came to the Astros after spending 10 seasons as the bench coach under Tony La Russa in St. Louis, where he won two World Series titles.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow wouldn't confirm Pettini's departure, writing in a text message no staff announcements have been made. Earlier in the day, Luhnow said he and new manager Bo Porter were in the process of finalizing the coaching staff for 2013, a process he hoped to wrap up within a week.

"We have been spending a lot of time on staff, both Bo and myself and other people, and I feel like we're probably a few days away from beginning to finalize some deals, but I feel like it's still going to be a week or two before we have the whole staff complete," Luhnow said.

Pettini, 58, chose to leave the Cardinals for Houston after more than 25 years as a player and coach in the organization for a chance to reunite with Luhnow, who had spent the previous eight years with the Cardinals.

Luhnow is debating releasing the names of each staff member once agreements are reached, saying it's hard to keep names under wraps in this day and age. He didn't rule out waiting until the entire staff is in place before making it public.

With Pettini not in the mix, the remaining coaching staff consists of hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo, pitching coach Doug Brocail, third-base coach Dave Clark, first-base coach Dan Radison and bullpen coach Craig Bjornson. Van Burkleo and Radison took over in August when Mills, hitting coach Mike Barnett and first-base coach Bobby Meacham were let go.

"We're doing it in a very systematic way, similar to the way we did the manager search," Luhnow said. "We know what we want of each individual position and we know what we want for the entire staff as a whole. It's like putting together a big puzzle and each piece has to fit properly and be aligned with the other pieces and all come under Bo's direction. I feel good about the progress we've made so far, and hopefully in the next couple of days or a week at the most, we'll have some announcements."

Meanwhile, Matt Galante, who had been serving as the Astros senior advisor of baseball operations for the past four years, has left the club. Luhnow said the Astros offered him a chance to stay with the organization.

"He's going to look around and explore other options," Luhnow said. "He's got a home here and he knows that, and we're hoping he continues to be affiliated with the organization because he's been a big part of this organization for a long time."

Galante previously spent 21 years (1980-2001) with the Astros, the longest tenure by any coach in team history. He served 16 seasons as a member of the Major League coaching staff (1985-96, 1998-2001) and worked in the Minor League system for five years.

He also managed in the Minor Leagues and was the Astros' interim manager from June 14-July 14, 1999 while Larry Dierker recovered from brain surgery.

Another long-time member of the Astros staff, strength and conditioning coach Gene Coleman, won't return next year. Coleman was the team's strength and conditioning coach for 34 seasons and this year represented the National League in the All-Star Game.

Houston Astros