HOUSTON Astros owner Jim Crane said on Monday the Astros would begin the process of hiring a new manager this week.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the list of candidates has been cut down to six or eight. The team is in need of a new manager after letting former skipper Brad Mills go in August.

Crane would not name any of the candidates, but said interim manager Tony DeFrancesco would be considered.

Since making a change at manager, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow has made it clear that there has been no timetable on when the club would announce the hiring of a new manager. According to Luhnow, the team made the move to let Mills go because they thought it gave the club a leg up on looking for a new manager before other teams made any changes themselves.

The Chronicle also reports that former Astros great Craig Biggio would be a part of the managerial search and will interview possible candidates.

The Astros are a major league worst 44-96 in 2012.

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