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Astros to discuss future Wednesday
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07/13/2004 10:13 PM ET
Astros to discuss future Wednesday
Williams' fate likely to be determined in meeting
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Jimy Williams hits fungoes during batting practice Tuesday at the All-Star Game. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)
HOUSTON -- Hoping to keep baseball issues focused on the All-Star Game, Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane declined to discuss the fate of manager Jimy Williams, whose job could be in jeopardy after a disappointing first half of the season that produced a lackluster 44-44 record.

But McLane did acknowledge that he will meet with general manager Gerry Hunsicker and president of baseball operations Tal Smith on Wednesday at the Astros' downtown offices in Union Station for what is likely to be an evaluation of the field staff.

That group includes Williams and five coaches: hitting coach Harry Spilman, pitching coach Burt Hooton, bench coach John Tamargo, third base coach Gene Lamont and first base coach Jose Cruz.

"After we get into the office, we'll sit down and talk," McLane said. "But I have two meetings before I get there."

Rumors have swirled in the last few weeks regarding Williams' job security as the Astros continued to fall further back in the National League Central Division race. By the end of the Astros' 2-5 swing through San Diego and Los Angeles that led into the All-Star break, they were 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Cardinals and 4 1/2 out of the NL Wild Card race.

2004 All-Star Game

Considering the Astros were picked as one of the favorites to represent the National League in the World Series after adding Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte during the offseason, their .500 record has been a major disappointment, one big enough to perhaps cost Williams his job.

Most of the sellout crowd at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday voiced its opinion about the current state of the Astros when Williams, a National League All-Star coach, was booed during pregame introductions.

Among potential candidates to replace Williams are Lamont, who has managerial experience with the Pirates and White Sox, and Phil Garner, who played seven seasons for the Astros from 1981-87. Garner was the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers (1992-99) and Detroit Tigers (2000-02) and lives year-round in Houston.

Approached by reporters at an autograph signing during the John Hancock All-Star Fanfest on Tuesday, Garner opted to stay on a neutral course.

"Keep me out of the picture," he said. "I'm not going to be a part of any speculation. I have great respect for Jimy. Let them take care of their business."

Alyson Footer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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