Phil's back, but the 'Stros have removed their Hickey.

Phil 'er Up

Of all the problems the Astros have had this season, coaching, apparently, ain't one of them. That's clear as today, your Houston Astros have reupped with manager Phil Garner. The Astros manager is now under contract through 2008. A man who's no longer under contract is Jim Hickey, the 'Stros pitching coach.

That's interesting, considering that stats show that the Astros boasted the National League's second-lowest ERA (4.08), and tied the New York Mets for the most shutouts (12). Last year, the team ranked second in the NL with a 3.51 ERA and led the league with the fewest runs and walks allowed.

Definitely a reason to fire the guy who coaches your pitchers, right?

It'll be interesting to see what Drayton McClane has to say about Hickey's dismissal. For a team that desperately needs a bat with some punch, kicking the guy who coached Andy and Roger to the curb seems suspect. We'll be watching.

Oh, btw: Is it us, or does Phil bear a striking resemblance to this guy? — Steven Devadanam

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