Astros exercise 2012 option on manager Brad Mills, add 2013 option to contract

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Brad Mills went 76-86 in his first season as Houston’s manager, including 40-33 in the second half for the NL’s fourth-best record after the All-Star break, and today the Astros picked up his 2012 option while adding a 2013 option to his contract.
Houston looked like the worst team in baseball through about one-third of the season, but after starting 17-34 they went 59-52 over the final four months despite trading away both Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman.
I’m skeptical about the Astros’ chances of building on that success in 2011 because right now their roster looks pretty lacking for a season-long contender, but after misguidedly putting off a true rebuilding effort they finally appear headed in the right direction under Mills.

Hometown hero Bryce Harper defeats Freddie Freeman to advance in Home Run Derby

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Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper advanced to the second round of the 2018 Home Run Derby, swatting 13 home runs to best the 12 hit by Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. Harper was a No. 2 seed to Freeman’s No. 7, so the outcome isn’t a surprise. The hometown crowd in Washington, D.C. were certainly pleased that their star has advanced.

Harper would have had 30 seconds of bonus time since he hit two home runs that went 440 feet or total, but he got to 13 with time to spare in regulation. Harper maxed out at 467 feet in distance and 113 MPH in exit velocity. When interviewed on the field after his performance, Harper said, out of breath, “I’m tired!”

The second round is set. Rhys Hoskins (17 homers) will oppose Kyle Schwarber (16). Harper (13) will take on Max Muncy (17).