Porter sees Dominguez, Castro for the long haul

Astros manager Bo Porter was asked repeatedly this spring about setting his starting lineup, and he always gave the same answer: “Jose Altuve is my starting second baseman and he’s going to hit leadoff.” In other words, Porter was set on the 5-foot-6 Altuve as his starting second baseman, but every other position was up for grabs.

Though the evaluation process continues in the outfield, earlier this month Porter identified J.D. Martinez as the starting left-fielder, Robbie Grossman as the starting center-fielder and Jimmy Paredes as the starting right-fielder — for now. These names are by no means locked in as much as Altuve, an All-Star a year ago, but Porter’s declaration was more about finding out what Martinez, Grossman and Paredes can do to prove they belong.

Which brings us to Saturday night, when third baseman Matt Dominguez and catcher Jason Castro both hit two homers, becoming the first Astros teammates to do that since Lance Berkman and Craig Biggio in 2005.

Dominguez, a tremendous defender, has seven homers in his last 12 games after not hitting a homer in his first 33 games this year, and the former first-round pick Castro has homered three times in his last six games and is hitting .450 in that span. Dominguez is hitting .253 with seven homers and a team-leading 24 RBIs, and Castro is hitting .265 with six homers and 15 RBIs.

After the game, Porter was ready to say Dominguez and Castro had joined Altuve in locking up a starting spot for the long term, and considering there’s nobody in the Minor Leagues ready to push them, that’s a good thing for the Astros.

“We found ourself a third baseman and we found ourself a catcher,” Porter said. “And coming into the season we knew we had a second baseman. This is the thing: You let them play long enough, the questions you have, they’ll answer them. One way or another, they will answer the questions you need to have answered. I will not leave this season without getting every question I have in my head answered.”

As for first base and shortstop? Jonathan Singleton appears to be the first baseman of the future and will begin his Minor League season next week after missing the first 50 games because of a second failed drug test. The shortstop spot is being kept warm until 2012 No. 1 pick Carlos Correa is ready, though Jonathan Villar could be interesting to watch next year.

And don’t sleep on Chris Carter, who has enough power to entrench himself at first base or designated hitter if he can cut down on his strikeouts.

Whether any of these names are here when the Astros hope to contend in a few years remains to be seen, but there are some signs on hope in the rubble of a 14-35 season.

5 Comments

Right now I’d love to punch Bo Porter in the MOUTH. Have you seen Lucas Harrell’s post game interview??????? Castro and Harrell are a DISASTER when they have to work together, Harrell should be traded to get away from this manager, and the STUPID SHIFTS!!!!!!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

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Brian, looks like Dominguez is the DH now, this guy sure has his eye on the ball, I believe he will carry the Astros a long way, but it takes the whole team to get them where they are winning games, I watched the game Sunday, no body got any real hit other than Altuve, it’s going to take more than Castro, Dominguez, and Altuve to make the team successful !!!    Ralph

         

I tend to agree that Altuve, Castro and Dominguez should all be keepers for the future. But what happened to Altuve leading off. I believe that if Porter would just stick with what he says things would be better and if he batted Altuve lead-off like he said he would I think Grossman would still be here. I think Porter is to blame for Altuve;s average slipping the past few weeks. He is indeed a leadoff hitter so play him there. The Astros need an experienced manager to lead and develop inexperienced players. Right now Porter’s on the job training is hurting the team more than helping the team.

I’m absolutely in love with Matty D’s defense, minus the one error-filled game, he’s been pretty stellar and his bat has really come alive in recent weeks. Hope to see him in an Astros uniform for a while.

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