Schererville’s Mallee has 4 job offers, picks Astros as hitting coach

BY GEORGE CASTLE Times Correspondent

The Houston Astros have hired John Mallee as their new big-league hitting coach, Mallee confirmed Friday.

Mallee, the longtime Schererville pro and amateur batting instructor, had four employment offers in the last two weeks — from the Cubs, New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians.

He picked the Astros because of his long-standing relationship with new manager Bo Porter.

“Bo is an offensive-minded manager, which is great for me,” Mallee said. “There’s some young hitters in the minor leagues who are very, very good. Their (position players) age-wise average 26.3 years old.”

Mallee joins the losingest team in baseball the past two seasons. Shifting to the American League in 2013, the Astros are building from the bottom after losing 213 games in 2011-12.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow contacted Mallee on the recommendation of Porter, with whom Mallee worked in the Marlins system. Mallee and Porter share the same hitting philosophies.

“To get an opportunity to start something from the ground floor…to be part of something to get them back to their winning ways and traditions was exciting for me,” he said. “I have a relationship with Bo Porter. He let (Luhnow) know I was the guy he was interested in.”

After serving as the Toronto Blue Jays’ senior adviser in player development this year, Mallee will assume his second big-league hitting coach’s position. He was fired from the Miami Marlins in July 2011, having previously served that organization as minor-league hitting coordinator.

Short-term, Mallee will have to cut down on his traditional off-season work, both with the Indiana Shockers youth baseball teams — six boys and one girls teams ages 9 to 14 — and with private batting instruction.

Long-term, Mallee said he may have to move his family from Schererville to Houston after the present school year concludes.