The Astros will interview 10 candidates over the next week to become the team's next manager, including former skipper Phil Garner.
Houston fired manager Cecil Cooper on Sept. 21. Third base coach Dave Clark was promoted to interim manager for the final two weeks and the team said Monday that Clark will be the first man interviewed for the full-time position.
The other candidates include: minor league coordinator Al Pedrique, who became third base coach when Clark was promoted; former Brewers manager Ned Yost, San Diego hitting coach Randy Ready, former Arizona manager Bob Melvin, former Washington manager Manny Acta and current Boston Red Sox coaches Brad Mills and Tim Bogar.
The Astros have also been granted permission to interview Philadelphia bench coach Pete Mackanin when the Phillies complete postseason play.
Clark and Pedrique will lead off the interviews on Wednesday. The remaining candidates will be interviewed between Thursday and Monday.
The Astros finished 74-88, their second losing record in three seasons. Cooper was the third manager fired since 2004. He replaced Garner in August 2007.
General manager Ed Wade said toward the end of this season that previous big league managing experience may not be a determining factor as the Astros evaluate candidates.
"If you're going to do this the right way, you've got to be open-minded," Wade said. "When you start talking about experience, is it experience solely as a major league manager? Are you walking past other guys who have great minor league credentials, or who look like they're on the precipice of being outstanding managers in some fashion?
"We have to sit down and take an open mind, spend our time researching," Wade said. "If we do our homework, we're going to end up making the right decision."
The Astros will then meet with the finalists for a second round of interviews with Wade, president of baseball operations Tal Smith, owner Drayton McLane and president of business operations Pam Gardner.
"We're excited about the entire group of candidates," Wade said. "All 10 candidates have a great deal of experience and are held in high regard throughout major league baseball."
Garner could be the most intriguing possibility, after going 277-252 with Houston between 2004-07. Garner replaced the fired Jimy Williams at midseason in 2004, and the Astros went 48-26 the rest of the way to earn the NL wild card.
A year later, bolstered by Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, Houston went 89-73 and reached the World Series for the first time. Clemens and Pettitte were gone by 2007, and the Astros had a 58-73 record when Garner was fired.
Bogar, 42, also has ties to the team. He played for the Astros from 1997-2000, managed the Greeneville Astros of the Appalachian League in 2004 and the team's Class-A affiliate in Lexington in 2005.