Astros announce additions to 2015 Major League coaching staff

Hillman, Hudgens, Pettis, Dauer join staff; Strom, Bjornson return in same roles

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros have announced four new additions to their 2015 Major League coaching staff by naming Trey Hillman as bench coach, Dave Hudgens as hitting coach, Gary Pettis as third base coach and outfield/baserunning instructor, and Rich Dauer as first base coach and infield instructor. Brent Strom will return to the Astros as pitching coach, while Craig Bjornson will return as bullpen coach. The announcement was made by Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow.

The four new staff members and two returning coaches will join new Astros manager A.J. Hinch, who was hired on Sept. 29, 2014.

Hillman, 51, joins the Astros from the New York Yankees, where he served as a special assistant in Major and minor league operations in 2014. Prior to last season, Hillman spent three seasons as bench coach for Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers (2011-13), and three seasons as manager of the Kansas City Royals (2008-10). The Texas native spent five seasons in Japan as manager of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, leading the club to a championship in 2006 and three total playoff appearances (2004, 2006-07).

Hillman spent 13 years managing and coaching at the minor league level in the Yankees system (1989-2001), and also served as director of player development for one season with the Rangers (2002). He played three seasons of minor league baseball in Cleveland's system from 1985-87 before serving as a scout for the organization from 1987-88. Hillman is a resident of Liberty Hill, Texas, and a graduate of the University of Texas-Arlington.

Hudgens, 57, spent the last four seasons as hitting coach with the New York Mets. He returns to the Astros for his second stint with the club, as he served as a roving hitting instructor in Houston's system from 1989-95. Hudgens has spent eight combined years as a Major League hitting coach, as he also was hitting coach for the Oakland Athletics in 1999, and again from 2003-05. Prior to his most recent post with the Mets, Hudgens was Cleveland's minor league field coordinator from 2006-10. He was a manager in Oakland's minor league system from 1985-88, and also had two stints as the club's assistant director of player development (1996-98, 2000-02). Hudgens played six seasons in the minor leagues with the Oakland and Cleveland organizations (1979-84), and saw time in the Majors with the Athletics in 1983.

Pettis, 56, comes to the Astros after spending the last eight seasons on the Major League coaching staff of the Texas Rangers. The former outfielder was a five-time Gold Glove winner during his 14-year Major League career with the California Angels (1982-87), Detroit Tigers (1988-89, 1992), Texas Rangers (1990-91) and San Diego Padres (1992). He spent the last two seasons as the Rangers third base coach after spending six seasons as the club's first base coach, serving as the Rangers outfield and baserunning instructor throughout his time with the club.

Pettis also served on the Major League staffs of the New York Mets (2003-04) and Chicago White Sox (2001-02) as first base and outfield coach. Pettis began his coaching career as a roving minor league instructor in the Angels (1995) and White Sox (1997-2000) organizations, and later had a two-year stint as Milwaukee's Triple A hitting instructor from 2005-06.

Dauer, 62, has spent the last two seasons as manager for the Double A San Antonio Missions in the Padres organization and owns a combined 15 years as a coach in the Major Leagues. The former 10-year Major League infielder served four seasons as third base coach for the Rockies (2009-12), three seasons as Ned Yost's bench coach with Milwaukee (2003-05), six seasons as third base coach for the Royals (1997-2002), and two seasons as third base coach with Cleveland (1990-91). Dauer is one of a select few players to have won both a World Series and College World Series title, as he was a member of the 1983 Baltimore Orioles Championship club and two national championship teams at the University of Southern California (1973-74).

In 2013, his first year as manager of the Missions, Dauer received Texas League Manager of the Year honors en route to leading the club to the Texas League Championship title. In addition to his Major League coaching experience, Dauer has served as a minor league manager, coach and roving infield instructor in the Colorado, Baltimore, Kansas City and Cleveland organizations.

Strom, 66, returns to the Astros for his second consecutive season as pitching coach and his 10th overall year with the organization. This past season, Strom helped oversee an Astros starting pitching staff that posted their best collective ERA (3.82) since the 2005 World Series club (3.46). He is currently in his third stint as a Major League pitching coach, as he previously held that post for the Royals (2000-01) and Astros (1996). With close to 35 years of coaching experience, Strom has also worked in the St. Louis (2008-13), Montreal/Washington (1998-99, 2002-06) and San Diego (1997) organizations. His coaching career followed a playing career that spanned from 1970-81, which included parts of five Major League seasons. He played two seasons in the Astros system and started his coaching career with the club as a minor league pitching instructor from 1989-95.

Bjornson, 45, will return as bullpen coach for his second consecutive season and his third overall, as he also served as Houston's bullpen coach in 2012. In 2013, he worked throughout the organization as a roving pitching instructor. Bjornson, who is bilingual, has over 15 years of coaching experience in professional baseball.