Astros hire new bullpen coach

HOUSTON, TX -- The Astros have named Craig Bjornson as their new bullpen coach, General Manager Jeff Luhnow announced today.

Bjornson, a former pitcher in the Astros minor league system, has 13 years of experience in professional baseball as a pitching coach, most recently for the Rookie Level Casper Ghosts of the Rockies organization for the past three seasons (2009-11).  

The 42-year-old Bjornson, who speaks Spanish, has also worked as a pitching coach in the Dodgers, Nationals, Royals and Expos organizations and spent three seasons as pitching coach for the Occidente Pastora de los Llanos of the Venezuelan Winter League (2000-03).

“Craig has over a decade of experience as a pitching coach in the minor leagues as well as three years coaching in winter ball,” Luhnow said. “He is bi-lingual, which should be an asset in our bullpen.”

Bjornson, a former left-handed pitcher, was signed by the Astros as a non-drafted free agent in 1991 after pitching at Nicholls State University in Louisiana. He would pitch three seasons in the Astros farm system from 1991-93, posting an overall mark of 9-18 with a 3.82 ERA in 81 appearances (27 starts) with a complete game and three saves. His pitching career included stints at Class A Asheville, Burlington and Quad Cities.