Astros officially tab Espada as bench coach

Astros officially tab Espada as bench coach

HOUSTON -- The Astros on Monday announced the hiring of Joe Espada as the team's new bench coach. He replaces Alex Cora, who left after one season in Houston to become the manager of the Red Sox.

Espada, 42, has spent the past three years as the third-base coach for the Yankees, who were eliminated in the American League Championship Series by the Astros. The 2018 season will be his eighth as a member of a Major League coaching staff, including the 2010-13 seasons when he served as the third-base coach for the Marlins.

Like Cora, Espada is a native of Puerto Rico, but he never reached the big leagues as a player. The former infielder played nine seasons in the Minor Leagues after getting selected by Oakland in the second round of the 1996 MLB Draft. Astros manager A.J. Hinch was taken in the third round by the A's that year.

"I've got a long history with him," Hinch said. "I've really respected and appreciated his approach as a coach. I stayed in touch with him through the years. I've watched him go from a Minor League coach to a coordinator, to a Major League third-base coach and then change organizations and be the Yankees' third-base coach the last three years.

"He's a tireless worker who will connect well with players. He's inching towards being a managerial candidate down the road. He has all these qualities we feel like will [lead to] a seamless transition to come on this staff. I'm excited to have him."

The Astros also have an opening for an assistant hitting coach. Alonzo Powell was named hitting coach of the Giants on Monday after two seasons in Houston. Also, the club announced Monday that first-base coach Rich Dauer was recovering in Houston after undergoing surgery to relieve a blot clot in his brain

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.