I know you’re saying “Steve are you turning this into a Houston Astros blog? This is the second Astros post in like 24 hours”. No, I’m not, generally I could care less about the ‘Stros but you’ll see in a moment why all of a sudden you think I’m from Texas.

Today the Astros dumped manager Phil Garner and General Manager Tim Purpura less than two years after the duo took the team to it’s first World Series where they were swept by the Chicago White Sox.

Owner Drayton McLain said the team “needed a fresh start” so he canned those guys and made Team President Tal Smith interim General Manager and bench coach Cecil Cooper interim manager.

Houston is currently 58-73 and 9 games behind Chicago in the weak NL Central having lost five of the last seven games to lowly Washington and Pittsburgh.

Cooper with the Red SoxThe 57-year-old Cooper becomes a major league manager for the first time. The five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner was the bench coach in Milwaukee in 2002 and managed Triple-A Indianapolis in 2003-04. He started his playing career with the Boston Red Sox and was traded in 1976 to Milwaukee for George Scott and Bernie Carbo. The deal brought the two former Red Sox back to Boston and gave Cooper a gateway to becoming one of the best first baseman of his era.

The Astros have 31 games left and McLain said it’s basically an audition for Cooper.

Cooper is already making changes, he promoted first-base coach Jose Cruz to bench coach and moved bullpen coach Mark Bailey to the first-base position and will have some lineup changes on Tuesday.

Garner took over midway through 2004 for the fired Jimy Williams and compiled a 277-252 record with Houston. He has also managed Milwaukee and Detroit.

Purpura joined the Astros in 1994 serving a variety of positions with the club before taking over from Gerry Hunsicker as GM before the 2005 season. He has been blamed for the poor acquistions of starters Woody Williams and Jason Jennings as well as holding onto Morgan Ensberg for too long.

Houston became the fourth team to switch managers this season. Baltimore fired Sam Perlozzo on June 18 and Cincinnati fired Jerry Narron on July 1, the same day Mike Hargrove resigned as Seattle’s manager