Greeneville, TN (WJHL) — The Houston Astros announced Friday it is cutting ties with the Appalachian League and leaving Greeneville, Tennesseee.

In a statement posted on the team’s website, General Manager Jeff Luhnow said the Astros would leave the rookie level league in 2018.

In 2004, Greeneville, Tennessee became an Astros affiliate. The team’s home field Pioneer Park at Tusculum College, a 2.500 seat facility funded by businessman, philanthropist, and Tusculum alumnus Scott Niswonger.

Tusculum College learned about the decision Friday afternoon, according to David Lane, Greeneville Astros General Manager.   He called it a player development decision and said the Astros home office decided to reduce the number of development teams by one.

Houston managers informed its Greeneville staff last night, Lane said.  He now will be the general manager of an Astros team in Fayetteville, NC..   Lane, who said he’s been in Greeneville with the team for 11 years, said two other staff members in Greeneville will have a chance to stay with the organization or pursue other options.

“We want to thank all of our fans and sponsors for their passion and loyalty over the last 13 years,” Lane said. “We especially want to thank Scott and Nikki Niswonger and Tusculum College for all of their support over the years. Thank you to everyone that made our time in Greeneville a fun adventure.”

“It really has been an honor for us to work with the Houston Astros organization,” said Steve Gehret, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Tusculum College. “It was a very good partnership from the day it began and remained that way for the duration of the relationship.”Copyright 2017 WJHL.  All rights reserved.