CORPUS CHRISTI – Manager Gregorio Petit, pitching coach Thomas Whitsett, hitting coach Aaron Westlake, development coach Dylan Mazzo, athletic trainer Takeaki Ando and strength coach Mike Hoffman will lead the Hooks in 2022, the Houston Astros announced today.
Minor league spring camp officially began Monday, February 28 at the Astros’ training complex in West Palm Beach, Fla. Action at Whataburger Field starts with an April 6 friendly opposite Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The 17th season of Hooks Baseball is officially underway Friday, April 8 as the San Antonio Missions visit for Opening Night at the Ballpark by the Bay.
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Petit, 37, made his managerial and professional coaching debut with the Hooks in 2021. The former MLB infielder presided over a sprawling roster which featured 66 players over 126 transactions. Corpus Christi promoted 13 to Triple-A Sugar Land, including eight from the pitching staff. Petit is the eighth manager in the 17-season tenure of the club.
“Gregorio was the spark we needed with everyone back at the ballpark last year,” Hooks General Manager Brady Ballard said. “His work ethic and experience in the game was apparent from day one. We are thrilled to welcome Gregorio back to Corpus Christi.”
A native of Ocumare, Venezuela, Petit played 15 seasons of professional baseball from 2003-’18, including 197 games in the major leagues, hitting for a .249 lifetime batting average. Most of his experience came in Minor League Baseball, compiling a .269 average with 71 home runs and 548 RBIs in 1,315 career MiLB games.
Petit spent the 2014 season in the Houston organization, hitting .278 in 37 games with the Astros and .297 with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs at Triple-A Oklahoma City, earning Pacific Coast League Midseason All-Star honors. He was also a 2007 Texas League Midseason All-Star with the Midland RockHounds of the Oakland A’s system, which signed him as a 16-year-old in 2001.
Whitsett readies for his second season as a pitching coach in the Astros system. He guided High-A Fayetteville hurlers in 2019 and was set to return for the ultimately canceled 2020 minor league campaign. Whitsett joined the Astros from the University of Arizona, where he was the director of player development for pitchers. The head baseball coach at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, Calif. from 2016-’18, he also served as pitching coordinator for the NorCal Baseball Club.
Westlake, 33, was hired by the Astros in June of last year as a development coach in the Florida Complex League. A third-round pick of the Tigers in 2011, he played in parts of four minor-league seasons, finishing with a 116-game stint at Double-A Erie in 2014. As a pro, the Vanderbilt product batted .255 with 132 extra-base hits and 203 RBIs in 368 contests, primarily at first base. Westlake was working in the Arizona Diamondbacks system when the 2020 minor league season was shuttered.
Mazzo is new to the Astros, previously working as a minor league defensive coach with the Los Angeles Angels. He played baseball at Division III Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa., and has experience coaching collegiately at Misericordia, Lindenwood University (Bellville, Pa.), East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and the University of Charleston (Charleston, W. Va.).
Ando enters his first stint with the Hooks, after working for the Low-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers last season. He was originally employed by the Astros as a Gulf Coast League athletic trainer in 2020.
Hoffman, who began 2021 at Fayetteville before finishing the season with the Hooks, is in his sixth year as a strength and condition coach in the Astros system, and eighth in pro ball. His previous Astros stops also include Quad Cities (Davenport, Iowa) and Tri-City (Troy, N.Y.).