Three down, four to go as Astros' GM search continues

HOUSTON -- Ed Wade and Jim Beattie were among three candidates who interviewed with the Houston Astros for their vacant general manager job Wednesday, and the team also scheduled an interview with Major League Baseball vice president Bob Watson.

The Astros also interviewed Muzzy Jackson on Wednesday. Jackson is special assistant to the general manager with the Kansas City Royals.

Watson, who was general manager of the Astros from 1993 to 1995, also held that position with the New York Yankees from October 1995 to February 1998. He helped lead the Yankees to the 1996 World Series title and is currently vice president of on-field operations for Major League Baseball.

Astros interim general manager Tal Smith said Watson will be interviewed, as will Houston assistant general manager Ricky Bennett and senior director of baseball operations David Gottfried.

Wade is the former general manager of the Phillies. He was fired after the 2005 season after failing to get Philadelphia into the playoffs during eight years on the job.

Beattie, the former general manager of the Montreal Expos and
Baltimore Orioles, held the position with the Orioles from December
2002 to October 2005.

Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. arrived in Houston on Wednesday evening to interview for the job.

"I'm very flattered to get the opportunity to talk to the decision-makers," Amaro told Houston TV station KRIV.

Last week, the team fired manager Phil Garner and general manager Tim Purpura with the club at the bottom of the NL Central standings. Bench coach Cecil Cooper was appointed interim manager, and Smith is serving as interim general manager.

"The first interviews have gone very well," Smith said. "They were three very impressive candidates."