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Astros get permission to interview Nevin for skipper's job

NEW YORK -- The Astros have received permission to interview former big leaguer Phil Nevin to be their manager, a baseball source confirmed on Thursday. Nevin, a former No. 1 overall Draft pick by Houston, is managing in the D-backs' Minor League system at Triple-A Reno. The team has not acknowledged that Nevin is a candidate.

Nevin, 43, played 12 years in the Major Leagues after being taken by the Astros with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1992 First-Year Player Draft. He was a bust with Houston, but wound up having a solid career by hitting .270 with 208 homers and 743 RBIs with the Astros, Tigers, Angels, Padres, Rangers, Cubs and Twins.

Nevin wound up appearing in just 18 games for Houston, which invested a lot of money and even more faith in taking the slugging third baseman from Cal State-Fullerton. The Astros -- and four other teams -- passed up a lanky high school shortstop named Derek Jeter, whom the Yankees drafted with the No. 6 overall pick.

In an interview with two years ago, Nevin admitted he wished he would have listened and learned from Astros players Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell when he came up to the big leagues.

Nevin's maturity problems, which included anger outbursts and run-ins with Astros management, played a part in his being dealt to the Tigers as the player to be named in exchange for pitcher Mike Henneman. Less than two years later, with Biggio and Bagwell anchoring the lineup, Houston began a run of reaching the playoffs five times in a nine-year span, capped by its first National League pennant in 2005.

"Everybody looks back and wishes something here and there would be different, but I really don't do that," Nevin told in 2012. "What I do say is, 'Gosh darn it, if I would have just listened to these guys a little earlier, it might have set in a little sooner and I would have been successful for a longer period of time.'"

Nevin managed three seasons at Triple-A Toledo in the Tigers' Minor League system before the D-backs hired him to manage this year at Reno.

Astros interim manager Tom Lawless will interview with general manager Jeff Luhnow on Saturday in New York for the full-time managerial position. Ken Rosenthal of reported earlier that Houston has interviewed at least five candidates by phone: A.J. Hinch, Dino Ebel, Torey Lovullo, Don Wakamatsu and Dave Martinez.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.
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