The St. Louis Cardinals will see another former, long-time coach in the uniform of a National League Central Division rival in 2012.
The Houston Astros have hired Joe Pettini to be their new bench coach, reports MLB.com Astros beat reporter Brian McTaggart. Incumbent Houston bench coach Al Pedrique was asked to move to bullpen coach, apparently to make room for Pettini, but instead resigned.
Pettini, 56, was reassigned by the Cardinals following the 2011 World Series. After the retirement of manager Tony La Russa, new skipper Mike Matheny named Mike Aldrete as his bench coach, replacing Pettini.
Pettini was announced as having another, undefined job in the organization, but it seemed clear he would go elsewhere. Such was also the case with deposed first base coach Dave McKay, who recently moved to the same job with the Chicago Cubs.
A former major league infielder, Pettini spent parts of four seasons, 1980-83, with the San Francisco Giants. He joined the Cardinals Triple-A Louisville club in 1984 and played there through 1986.
Pettini began his managerial career in 1989 and managed eight years in the Cardinals system, logging a .454 winning percentage. He had two playoff clubs, including a Triple-A title in 1995, before moving to the minor league field coordinator job from 1997-2001.
Pettini joined La Russa’s staff in 2002, spending a decade as the bench coach in St. Louis. The West Virginia native served as acting manager from May 10-15, 2011 when La Russa had to leave the club to undergo treatment for an advanced case of shingles.
Pettini is the first uniformed staffer with Cardinals ties to be hired by new Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. The ex-Cardinals vice president has already hired away one front office staffer from St. Louis and reportedly is interviewing a Cardinals scouting director, as well.
Update: In other Cardinals-related hires, the Astros have added Dan Radison as Special Assistant to the General Manager/Player Development and Mike Elias as Special Assistant to the General Manager/Scouting.
Radison was once the Cardinals minor league hitting coordinator. He left the organization following the 2009 season to join the staff of then-Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman, another ex-Cardinals staffer.
As Cardinals manager of amateur scouting, Elias’ former role included cross-checking as he coordinated the organization’s amateur scouting efforts. He first joined the Cardinals in 2007 and was promoted in 2010 after serving as an area scout.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column during the season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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