NEW YORK -- Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco knew what he was getting when he was announced as the team's next skipper on Saturday. But Houston's league-worst record didn't mean much to him.
Instead, his focus has been bringing a new mindset and attitude in the clubhouse, and that began on Day 1.
"I want these guys to feel that I know that it's been a tough season so far, but the reminder is that we're not quitting," DeFrancesco said about a team meeting the Astros had on Friday. "We believe in ourselves, we're going to go out and compete and pull for each other.
"We're going to have to make it fun. Even if we're losing, the game of baseball is fun. But once we get out on the field, we're going to compete and try and execute as best as we can."
DeFrancesco talked about the importance of carrying momentum into next season -- whether he'll still be a part of the team -- and urged his players to view the remainder of the schedule as a new season.
"I look at it as a new beginning," he said. "I look at it from the first day to today as a clean slate for the players. I think it's a weight lifted off their backs, and we've still got quite a few games left. If we can put something together, win a few games, the confidence will grow and the experience will be determined for next year."
Astros tab Abad to start Saturday against Mets
NEW YORK -- Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco announced on Friday that left-handed pitcher Fernando Abad will come up from Triple-A Oklahoma City to make Saturday's start against the Mets. A corresponding move will be announced prior to Saturday's game.
Abad opened the season with Houston and made 30 appearances out of the bullpen before he was optioned to Triple-A on July 28 to clear a roster spot for Armando Galarraga, who was designated for assignment on Wednesday.
In 30 appearances with Houston, Abad held a 3.86 ERA -- he surrendered 10 earned runs over 23 1/3 innings.
After he was optioned, Abad made three relief appearances with Oklahoma City before he was added to the team's starting rotation. In three starts, he allowed seven earned runs over 14 innings -- good for a 4.50 ERA. His most recent start was his most impressive -- Abad gave up two runs over 5 1/3 innings against Round Rock.
"I saw him two or three times down there -- looks like a different pitcher in the starting rotation," said DeFrancesco, who was the manager of Oklahoma City before taking over for the Astros on Sunday. "Good fastball, good breaking ball and an outstanding changeup. He's just another different look for us, we're excited about him and hopefully this role will be better for him."
Abad will square off against National League Cy Young Award candidate R.A. Dickey, who will attempt to notch his 16th win of the season. Dickey last pitched against the Astros on April 30, allowing three runs over six innings in a 4-3 Houston win.
DeFrancesco would welcome Clemens to Astros
NEW YORK -- Though only with the team since Sunday, Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco would have no problem welcoming Roger Clemens to his pitching staff.
"If the Astros feel that it's time for him to come up here, then it's their decision, but I have nothing against Roger -- he's a Hall of Fame pitcher," DeFrancesco said. "And we could use a guy with 300 wins."
DeFrancesco managed Clemens' oldest son, Koby, with the Astros' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City last season, and said he developed a relationship with The Rocket as a result.
Clemens, who turned 50 on Aug. 4, will make his much-anticipated debut for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League on Saturday night.
"We're wishing Roger the best," DeFrancesco said. "I'm sure he's in shape and hopefully he can go out and compete, which I'm sure will determine which direction he goes in."
Astros announce plans for Legends Weekend
NEW YORK -- The Houston Astros announced on Friday that the team's 50th anniversary celebration will culminate with Legends Weekend at Minute Maid Park. From Sept. 21-23, the Astros will don throwback jerseys that will match those given away to fans in attendance.
On Friday, Sept. 21, Houston will wear replica Colt .45s jersey (including the revolver), presented by Landry's, followed by the Shooting Star replica jersey, presented by Xfinity, on Saturday, Sept. 22, and the Rainbow replica jersey, presented by Farmers Insurance, on Sunday, Sept. 23.
Seven-time All-Star Craig Biggio will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Friday to kick off the weekend.
The Astros will also hold a Legends Luncheon on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT, which will be attended by a multitude of Astros alumni and will include appearances by some of the franchise's most recognized former players. The team will hold a special pregame ceremony for all attending alumni prior to Saturday night's game, which will include a tribute to the all-time 25-man roster chosen by a panel of experts and fans earlier this season.
Tickets are now available for the luncheon and can be purchased online at astros.com.
Adam Rosenbloom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.