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Astros fire manager Porter and bench coach

(Reuters) - The struggling Houston Astros fired manager Bo Porter and bench coach Dave Trembley on Monday, bringing in Tom Lawless as the interim manager for the rest of the 2014 season.

Houston has gone 59-79 this season and lies fourth in the American League West standings with only state rivals, the Texas Rangers, below them.

"Bo's passion and energy are unparalleled, and his desire to win unquestioned," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement. "This decision was not made because of our current level of competitiveness in the major leagues.

"I recognize that our win-loss record is largely a product of an organizational strategy for which I am responsible. Rather, I made this decision because I believe we need a new direction in our clubhouse.

"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."

The Astros said the search for a new manager would begin immediately.

"This was not an easy decision to make," said Astros owner Jim Crane.

"We wish Bo nothing but the best in the future. Jeff has my full support moving forward. Our goal to bring a championship to Houston remains."

Porter had been Astros manager since the start of the 2013 season, appointed to the position in September 2012 after serving as third-base coach for the Washington Nationals. He had a 110-190 record with Astros.

Adam Everett will join Houston's coaching staff, replacing Trembley as bench coach, the Astros said. The remaining coaches will continue in their current roles.

Lawless, who has close to 35 years of experience in baseball as a major league player, minor league manager and coach, served as interim manager for Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier this season.

Everett, who spent parts of 11 seasons in the majors as a shortstop, including seven with the Astros (2001-07), rejoined the Astros organization as a minor league infield instructor in 2013.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry)

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