Astros exercise option on Cooper's contract

HOUSTON [SPORTS BLOG: Get the latest news from the Eyewitness Sports team]

The Houston Astros on Saturday have exercised the option on manager Cecil Cooper's contract for 2010.

The Astros are off to a 3-7 start but general manager Ed Wade said picking up the option year was "a formality as far as I was concerned."

"Coop and I talked about it a little bit in spring training but things sort of ran away from us then. We think Cecil has done a terrific job for us.

"Anybody who followed our club a year ago knows about the ups and downs we encountered during the season. And one of the reasons we were able to get ourselves righted and have the best record of any team the second half of the season was the leadership that Coop and the coaches exhibited. We all got better as a result of it."

Owner Drayton McLane agreed, praising the job Cooper has done since taking over as interim manager late in the season in 2007.

"We made good progress in the last few weeks of the season then," McLane said. "Then last year if it wasn't for a few difficulties we had at the end of the season when the hurricane came to Houston, I think we would have been in the playoffs then."

Cooper, who has a 104-98 record with Houston, won 86 games last season. That was a 14-game turnaround from the previous year, the second best turnaround in franchise history.

"I appreciate their confidence in me," Cooper said "I do believe we are better and we will continue to get better. We've got some terrific young players coming up and I'm excited to be a part of that next year."

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