Results tagged ‘ Bo Porter ’

Video: Porter, Luhnow share good news

Here’s a video of Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager Bo Porter on Monday’s roster activity:

Astros swap coaching staffs against Cards

The Astros are swapping their coaching staffs for Friday’s game against the Cardinals, with the Major League coaching staff working a Minor League game on the back fields and the coaching staffs of the Double-A Corpus Christi, Class A Lexington and Class A Quad Cities working the Major League game against St. Louis. The Triple-A staff has been in Major League camp for most of the spring.

The idea came from manager Bo Porter, who plans to manage the Major League game against the Cardinals while bench coach Eduardo Perez, first base coach Dave Clark, third base coach Dave Trembley, hitting coach John Mallee, pitching coach Doug Brocail and bullpen coach Dennis Martinez work on the Minor League side.

“One of the biggest things in your organization is your ability to properly evaluate your own players,” Porter said. “We see this as an opportunity to allow our Minor League staff that was not in big league camp, it gives them an opportunity to come over and throw batting practice to Major League hitters, coach a Major League game, see our players, see other team’s players. When they’re now charged with doing reports, they have a recent comparable. They can say, ‘This is what a Major League third baseman looks like; this is what a Major League center fielder looks like; this is what a Major League starting pitcher looks like, this is what a Major League catcher looks like.'”

“Now, when they start to evaluate our players, they can probably write a better report or evaluate better because they’ve been able to witness it. They play games the same time we play games and they never get to witness it for their own two eyes. It was something that I talked to Eduardo and [general manager] Jeff [Luhnow] and the rest of the staff and [director of player development] Quinton McCracken and [field director] Paul Runge about, and I ran it by all of them and there were like, ‘No, it sounds like a great idea.’ I felt it was something that needed to happen at some point this spring and it made the most sense to do it today.”

Video: Porter, Luhnow and Norris on Opening Day

Astros manager Bo Porter, general manager Jeff Luhnow and pitcher Bud Norris react to Wednesday’s announcement that Norris will start for the club on Opening Day.

Game 23: Lyles struggles, Castro stays hot in loss

What happened: Jordan Lyles gave up 10 hits and six runs, including homers to Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista, as the Blue Jays outslugged the Astros, 10-6, who got homers from outfielder Brandon Barnes and catcher Jason Castro (boxscore).

What we learned: C Jason Castro isn’t putting too much stock into his torrid start this spring. Castro went 2-for-3 with a homer and is hitting .462 this spring with five homers and 11 RBIs.

“It’s really just a bonus,” he said. “Right now, it’s about seeing pitches and getting at-bats, repetition and my timing down and all the stuff for the regular season. I’m happy where I’m at. I feel good and the results are taking care of themselves. If it were going the other way, I’d pretty much say the same thing. Right now, that’s the biggest thing, is getting in the work to open up on March 31.”

Astros manager Bo Porter thought he knew what he was getting in Castro after watching game tape from last year — his first season since missing all of 2011 following knee surgery — but what he saw this spring was a different player.

“I got to Spring Training and saw him in batting practice the first couple of days and said, ‘That looks a lot different,'” he said. “You can tell by the way he’s blocking the ball, the way he’s swinging the bat, he’s healthy and has his legs underneath him. He’s doing a great job.”

What we learned II: 2B Jose Altuve is ready for the start of the season. Altuve continues to be about as steady as anyone in the game, going 3-for-4 with three singles on Tuesday to raise his spring batting average to .356.

“I was talking with Marwin [Gonzalez] about this,” he said. “I feel really good, feel 100 percent right now. I wish we were starting the season tomorrow. Like everyone, I’m really excited about going to the American League and playing hard and winning some games.”

What else: Porter was pleased with LF Chris Carter, who went 2-for-3 and is hitting .267. Carter pulled a fastball down the left-field for a double in the third and hit a 2-2 slider to right field in the fifth for a single. … The Astros were 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position. … Another scoreless inning by RHP Chia-Jen Lo lowered his ERA to 2.35.

What went wrong: Lyles gave up 10 hits and six runs and hit a batter in 3 2/3 innings. Porter said he wants him to pitch down the zone more next time out. … RHP John Ely pitched two innings and surrendered homers to Josh Thole and Ryan Langerhans. … The normally steady Matt Dominguez made an error at 3B.

What they said: “If you look up baseball player in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Jose Altuve. He’s just a baseball player.” — Astros manager Bo Porter on his All-Star second baseman.

What’s next: The Astros return to Osceola County Stadium on Wednesday to face the Mets at 5:05 p.m. CT. RHP Alex White, who’s battling for a spot in the starting rotation, will get the start for Houston. White, acquired from the Rockies in a December trade, has pitched in four games this spring, allowing eight earned runs in 10 1/3 innings.

Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (lower back tightness) is day-to-day.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day: Astros notebook has tons of information, including Bo Porter’s thoughts on the DH, Trevor Crowe’s mindset entering final days of camp and much, much more.

Porter on Ely, White

Astros manager Bo Porter talks about John Ely and Alex White:

Porter impressed with those who didn’t make first cut.

Astros manager Bo Porter said the players cut from Major League camp on Sunday made good impressions on the club. The team made their first cuts by reassinging second baseman Delino DeShields Jr., outfielder Jake Goebbert, outfielder Marc Krauss, center fielder George Springer and catcher Chris Wallace to Minor League camp and optioning left-hander Rudy Owens and right-hander Sam Demel to Minor League camp.

“It’ like I explained to all those guys this morning that came in: You get to this point in Spring Training, from a pitching standpoint, the starters are getting built up and they’re going to start to go deeper into the game and position players are going to start getting more at-bats, which means those guys that have been coming in piggybacking those guys, the opportunities for them are going to get more limited,” he said. “They start playing games in the Minor Leagues on the 14th [Thursday] and this gives those guys an opportunity to get down there and get regular at-bats.”

Demel, who was picked up on waivers, had allowed 10 hits and 11 runs in 2 1/3 innings of work this spring. Owens, acquired by the Pirates in the Wandy Rodriguez deal, had only pitched three innings. He’s a starter, so going to Minor League will allow him to pitch regularly in a rotation.

“[Demel] is a sinkerball pitcher, and sometimes it takes those guys a little bit longer to get the sink on their ball, get the action going,” Porter said. “We didn’t want him to sit there as a roster guy in camp and get the minimum opportunities to pitch in the game. That’s why we thought it would be the best thing for him to get to Minor League camp so he can get his sinker going.”

On Owens, Porter said: “Owens came over in a trade and he’s a rotation guy that will start the season in Triple-A, and we have to give him an opportunity to get build up.”

On DeShields: “Delino did a great job. Every situation we put him in, we gave him an opportunity to use his skill sets and he used him to the best of his ability and helped us win some ballgames. Like we told him, go down there and continue to work on the things you do well and allow your speed to impact the game. He did a tremendous job when he was here and we expect him to have a tremendous year.”

Porter to use five-man rotation early in season

Astros manager Bo Porter said he’ll open the season with a five-man rotation despite the surplus of off days early in the year. The Astros have four off days in the first three weeks of the season, but Porter said he plans to stick with five starters throughout April.

“I’m a proponent of you take the off days,” he said. “You can’t duplicate the intensity we’ll have once we get to Minute Maid ballpark. That’s not to say that Spring Training, the preparation part of it, isn’t difficult, but you can’t duplicate that energy. Early in the year, I’ve always leaned on the side of giving the guys the extra off day, and later in the year if you have to skip a guy, we’ll skip a guy at that point.”

Porter also said he won’t decide on an Opening Day starting pitcher until later in camp. Right-handers Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell are the two candidates to take the mound on March 31 against the Rangers. Porter said several factors will play into the decision, including who the pitchers will match up against later in the month and where they will pitch (home or road).

Whichever pitcher starts on Opening Day would come back and start at home on April 7, but the No. 2 pitcher in the rotation would take his second start of the season on the road. Both Norris and Harrell were very strong at home last year. Norris led the NL with a 1.71 ERA at home last year, and Harrell ranked fifth with a 2.34 ERA at Minute Maid Park.

“Those are all factors that from a managerial standpoint you take those things into consideration,” Porter said. “You look at your opponents, you look at your division and you want to have your best guys going against division foes. You want to see your rotation stack up for the long haul where you have your best guys going against your division foes.”

The Astros’ first 15 games in 2013 and 18 of their first 21 games are against AL West foes.

Here’s what else is going on with the Astros:

  • The Astros are being cautious with left-hander Erik Bedard, who has a strain to his right glute. He hopes to get on the mound in the next few days.
  • Norris will start the Feb. 12 game against the Marlins in Jupiter, Fla. Norris’ scheduled day to throw would be Monday, but the Astros are off and Porter plans to make sure the players don’t have to come to the facility.

MLB Network was at Astros camp on Thursday, and here we see Sean Casey giving a fist bump to bench coach Eduardo Perez prior to their interview:

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Porter returns to Viera to meet the Nationals

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Davey Johnson and Bo Porter

Astros manager Bo Porter, who spent the previous two years as third base coach of the Nationals, was handing out handshakes and hugs Tuesday in his return to Space Coast Stadium — the Spring Training site of the Nationals — as manager of the Astros.

“It’s great,” Porter said. “I have a lot of friends over here, a lot of great relationships. It’s not like we’re being reunited. We keep in contact constantly and leading up to today. It’s great to be back and see a lot of these guys and they’ve got a good thing going on. It’s a good ballclub and they’ve got a chance to do something special.”

Porter took time at the batting cage to talk with several players and Nationals manager Davey Johnson, whom he considers one of his mentors. He also revealed he’s part of a book club with several players on the Nationals that stays in contact via email. In fact, Porter said the book club, which focuses on inspirational work, is more than 700 strong.

Porter, 40, was met by about 12 reporters from the Washington area and was asked if the chance to be a manager in the Major Leagues was everything he could have imagined.

“The energy has been great, the attention to detail has been great,” he said. “We’ve fallen behind and come and battled and battled and you see the intensity, you see the attention to detail and it’s good to see from a staff standpoint.”

Much more on Porter’s return to Viera, Fla., later.

Here’s the Astros lineup:

SS Tyler Greene

2B Jose Altuve

LF Chris Carter

1B Brett Wallace

CF Justin Maxwell

RF J.D. Martinez

C Carlos Corporan

3B Matt Dominguez

DH Marwin Gonzalez

—-

RHP Lucas Harrell (0-0, 3.60 ERA)

Game 11: Porter unhappy after loss to the Tigers

What happened: The Astros played their poorest game of the spring, striking out 15 times, issuing nine walks and committing a pair of fielding errors in an 8-5 loss to the Tigers on Monday afternoon (boxscore).

What we learned: Being able to throw hard is great, but control remains the key Astros prospect Jarred Cosart made his first spring start and struggled with his control, allowing four hits, three runs and four walks. He threw only 23 of his 48 pitches for strikes and admitted he was working too fast.

“I wanted to establish the fastball early and they had the scouting reports that I’m a fastball guy and they were attacking from the start of the game,” Cosart said. “I was up in the zone and you just can’t do that with Major League hitters. You have to put them away when you get ahead.”

What we learned II: CF Justin Maxwell has some serious raw power. Well, we actually already knew this based on his several tape-measure shots from a year ago, but his first home run of the spring — a mammoth two-run blast to left field — in the sixth inning was admired by all.

“I don’t try to hit home runs, especially in Spring Training,” Maxwell said. “I’m just trying to hit the ball hard and just trying to find my swing right now and get better timing. … That’s just the thing. Any time I’ve tried to hit a homer I foul it off or don’t make contact, so depending on the game situation I try to hit the ball hard. If I barrel it, I have a good chance to have a positive result.”

What else: RHP Alex White also struggled with his control, allowing four hits, three runs (two earned) and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. … Tigers reliever Al Albuquerque struck out Chris Carter, George Springer and Nate Freiman in succession in the eighth inning. … RHPs Josh Zeid and Josh Fields each threw a scoreless innings, and LHP Kevin Chapman threw 1 1/3 scoreless with two strikeouts.

What went wrong: Plenty. Let’s start with the on the mound, where Astros pitchers labored most of the game and wound up walking nine batters. Houston hurlers threw only seven first-pitch strikes and worked repeatedly into deep counts. Astros manager Bo Porter said the issue would be addressed, but the thing that really had Porter fired up was the defense. A fielding error by Jonathan Villar at short didn’t hurt the club, but Jake Elmore‘s fielding error at second allowed an unearned run to score.

The Astros have committed 15 errors in 11 games.

“We’ve got to catch the ball,” Porter said. “We’ve come back from every deficit we’ve had this entire spring. Offensively, we’re scoring runs, but at the same time we’ve got to make it a little bit easier on our pitching staff to catch the ball when it’s hit to us, and our pitchers got to do a better job of pitching ahead in the count and limiting some of those deep counts.”

What they said: “This is the thing: either you make the plays or we’re going to find someone else who’s going to make them. That’s not hard to figure out,” — Astros manager Bo Porter on the team’s defense.

What’s next: Porter, who spent the previous two years as third base coach of the Nationals, returns to Viera, Fla., on Tuesday when the Astros play the Washington Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT at Space Coast Stadium. RHP Lucas Harrell, the team’s Pitcher of the Year in 2012, will be making this third start and should be able to be stretched to four innings.

Who’s injured: RHP Hector Ambriz (ankle) is scheduled to make his first appearance in a spring game Tuesday. … C Max Stassi (sports hernia surgery) is out six to eight weeks.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day: All kinds of good stuff in the Astros notebook: More on the meeting between George Springer and Torii Hunter, when the first round of roster cuts could happen, Mike Foltynewicz’s thoughts on the upcoming season and Tony DeFrancesco enjoying role with club after managing final 41 games last year.

The day in photos (light day today):

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Rick Ankiel, Trevor Crowe and Matt Dominguez

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John Mallee and Carlos Pena

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Astros catchers past and present: Jason Castro and Alan Ashby

Springer, Hunter meet in Tiger Town

Astros manager Bo Porter arranged for prospect George Springer to meet with Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter on Monday in Lakeland, Fla. Porter has said several times this spring that Springer’s game — speed, power, high energy –is reminiscent of Hunter, a former All-Star and Gold Glover, and he thought it would be a good idea for Springer to latch onto him as a possible mentor.

“I told George, ‘When you are a young Major League player, you want to kind of find someone that possesses the same skill set you possess, has played a high level and you want pick that person’s brain,'” Porter said. “That’s why I put him in touch with Torii Hunter. They’re going to exchange numbers, and he’s a great mentor for George to latch onto that would really help him as he progresses in his Major League career.”

Springer grew up in Connecticut and actually met Hunter while he was playing at Double-A New Britain in the Twins organization in 1997-98.

“I was telling my dad that he played hard and I liked the way he played,” Springer said. “He always dove or hit the wall when he had to. He’s always been the guy who I look up to ever since.

“It’s going to be a great honor to see him play again in person. I see the highlights of him all the time and he’s obviously a fantastic player. He plays the game the right way. Just to get the opportunity to be on the same field as him, Miguel Cabrera and Prince [Fielder], that’s a great organization.”

Springer said being compared to Hunter is an honor.

“It’s something special to me as a kid, especially as a player, for Bo to compare you to anybody,” he said. “I’m obviously extremely thankful what Bo’s done for me. He’s given me an opportunity, and I’m going to go out and play and have fun.”

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