The Houston Astros fired manager Bo Porter on Monday, saying the dismissal had less to do with the team's 59-79 record than the need for "new direction" and a "united message throughout the entire organization."
Porter was in his second season with the Astros and was succeeded by interim manager Tom Lawless, who worked in Houston's minor league system. Lawless' first game in charge is Tuesday night at home against the first-place Los Angeles Angels.
Bench coach Dave Trembley also was let go.
Porter joined the Astros after working as a third-base coach for the Washington Nationals. The Astros went a franchise-worst 51-111 in his first season for their third straight 100-loss season.
General manager Jeff Luhnow said the decision was not based on "our current level of competitiveness." The Astros entered Monday in fourth place in the AL West and with the second worst record in the league.
"I recognize that our win-loss record is largely a product of an organizational strategy for which I am responsible," Luhnow said in a statement. "Rather, I made this decision because I believe we need a new direction in our clubhouse."
Owner Jim Crane said the firing was "not an easy decision to make." It comes following recent reports citing sources who said Luhnow and Porter were not getting along.
Porter did not immediately respond to a call from The Associated Press.
Whoever is hired as full-time manager will be the team's fourth since 2007, not including those who held the job on an interim basis.
"What we will seek going forward is a consistent and united message throughout the entire organization," Luhnow said. "It is essential that as an organization we create an atmosphere at the major league level where our young players can come up and continue to develop and succeed.
"Ultimately, I am responsible for creating that culture, and I will do everything in my power to do so — even when it means making difficult moves like the one we made today."
Lawless worked in Houston's minor league system and was the interim manager at Triple-A Oklahoma City this season when manager Tony DeFrancesco was on medical leave.
Adam Everett, who was also working in the minors, will replace Trembley as bench coach.