By JOSE DE JESUS ORTIZ

Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle

Oct. 27, 2009, 3:19PM

Brad Mills was hired Tuesday by the Astros, taking over as manager of a team that has missed the postseason four straight seasons despite having one of baseball’s highest payrolls.

The hiring ends a month-long search to replace Cecil Cooper, who was fired Sept. 21.

“There was no doubt in my mind we’ve made an outstanding selection,” general manager Ed Wade said. “We’re working toward being a champion. This is a huge step to getting good and staying good.”

The Astros chose Mills, who has no previous major league managerial experience, after a third round of interviews over former Astros manager Phil Garner and Dave Clark, who served as interim manager for the final 13 games.

“This organization, this city, has a very good name in Major League Baseball,” Mills said. “They are first-class in how they do things.”

The Astros offered the job during the weekend to Manny Acta, who turned it down to take the manager’s job in Cleveland.

“Any of the four could have been a great manager for the Astros,” owner Drayton McLane said.

Mills, 52, has coached 11 seasons on the major-league level, the last six as the Boston Red Sox’s bench coach. He spent 11 seasons as a manager in the minor leagues with the Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers.

jesus.ortiz@chron.com

Also On Praise Houston:
2017 Stellar Gospel Music Awards [PHOTOS]
32nd Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards - Show
100 photos