Richard Lipski/AP

The Astros officially announced Nationals third base coach Bo Porter as their next manager for the 2013 season at a news conference in Houston this afternoon. Porter did not attend the conference, though, and will coach third base tonight for the Nationals in Philadelphia.

The timing comes at a slightly awkward time, with the Nationals in the midst of a pennant race and potentially an ensuing playoff run. The Astros likely were motivated to act quickly to hire Porter, who has drawn significant managerial interest, having interviewed for openings with the Nationals, Marlins and Pirates in the past.

In a statement, General Manager Mike Rizzo said he supported Porter’s decision and even encouraged him to become a manager.

“Bo Porter joined our staff in 2011 to instruct and coach our young players in how to play the game right, and in how to win,” Rizzo said. “He has been invaluable to us and our drive toward our first postseason. Despite his obvious value, we allowed and encouraged Bo to meet with his hometown Houston Astros to pursue his dream to manage in the major leagues.  He is smart, talented, and as fiery a competitor as there is in the game today. Bo will always be a member of the Nationals family, and we wish him every success with the Astros.”