Results tagged ‘ Bo Porter ’

Porter prefers to carry 12 pitchers

Astros manager Bo Porter talked roster composition Friday morning, saying he’s planning to carry 12 pitchers and 13 position players when the 25-man roster is set. Porter will take into heavily consideration roster balance, having a roster that has flexibility.

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Bo Porter

“It’s hard in the American League when you have 13 pitchers,” he said. “Eventually you’re going to have one or two guys who’s not going to be throwing, which is not going to be conducive to keeping them sharp. At the same time, you have to have flexibility in your everyday roster because you have nine position players playing every day and you don’t want to look over and have a short bench when it comes to matching up late in the game or doing things late in the game that can actually give you an advantage to put yourself in position to win the ballgame.”

The Astros take on the Cardinals today at 12:05 p.m. CT at Osceola County Stadium. The will be televised on CSN Houston (Yes, I know many of you don’t get the channel. I don’t need reminders). Here is the lineup:

SS Tyler Greene

2B Jose Altuve

1B Carlos Pena

LF Chris Carter

3B Brett Wallace

RF Rick Ankiel

DH Fernando Martinez

C Carlos Corporan

CF Brandon Barnes

—-

RHP Bud Norris. RHP Paul Clemens and RHP Jose Veras also scheduled to pitch.

In other Astros news:

  • RHP Hector Ambriz (sprained foot) will participate in fielding practice today.
  • Pitchers and catchers began reporting for Minor League camp on Friday, with position players set to report on Wednesday.
  • George Springer’s seven RBIs are tops among Grapefruit League hitters this Spring…he has posted a 1.500 slugging percentage in his four games.
  • The Astros have hit .316 (77-for-244) as a team in the first seven games.

McTaggart talks about Porter, Astros

Here MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart talking about the Astros

Astros ready for game action

The Astros on Friday finished their final workout before they hit the field for their first Spring Training game of the season. They’ll battle the Philadelphia Phillies at 12:05 p.m. CT Saturday in Clearwater, Fla., where it promises to be a warm and sunny afternoon.

Lucas Harrell is scheduled to start the game for the Astros and will be one of about six or seven pitchers throwing, including Jarred Cosart. Cole Hamels is starting for the Phillies. Harrell was named the Astros Pitcher of the Year last season after going 11-11 with a 3.76 ERA in 32 starts.

“I felt good in my last couple of sides and I felt good throwing in simulated games to the hitters, so hopefully I can take what I’m doing out to the game tomorrow,” Harrell said.

It’s only Spring Training, but getting on the mound to face other hitters is sure to increase the intensity.

“You always have a little bit of nerves,” Harrell said. “It’s always a little bit exciting. The fact is there’s a lot of guys competing for a job, and I’m one of them. Just to know that I need to go out there and pitch well and get one of those spots on the team, it’s one of those things I’ll definitely be really focused.”

Astros manager Bo Porter put the team through a shorter workout Friday after the players had a lengthy meeting with the Players’ Association.

“We worked on a lot of special plays today,” Porter said. “It was more of an explanation of shift defense, where does everybody go when you start to play these special coverages based on a hitter?”

Click here for the Astros notebook, which has information on Jose Veras playing in the World Baseball Classic, what went down at the MLBPA meeting and we catch up with former Astros player, Jose Cruz Jr. And here’s what Jonathan Singleton had to say in his first public comments since his suspension for marijuana, a suspension that will cost him 50 games.

Here is the day in pictures:

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Jose Ciserno.

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J.D. Martinez.

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Justin Maxwell.

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Justin Maxwell poses for a picture.

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Bo Porter talks to the team after the final workout of spring prior to games.

Clemens back at work with the Astros

Roger Clemens meets with the media Sunday.

Roger Clemens meets with the media Sunday.

Roger Clemens was back on the fields at Osceola County Stadium on a chilly morning, wearing and orange and blue batting practice cap, a new blue Astros jacket and a pair of blue jeans that had the team’s daily schedule tucked in the back of the waist.

“Our colors have changed and the expectations have changed a little bit,” Clemens said.

Sunday marked Clemens’ first day on the field as a special instructor for the Astros. He’ll spend about four days in Kissimmee this week, and be back and forth between Florida and Houston two more times this spring. It was all result of owner Jim Crane wanting the seven-time Cy Young Award winner to get more involved while he has a personal services contract.

Clemens joined the coaches’ meetings on Sunday morning and then hit the field after speaking with reporters for about 10 minutes. He plans to shadow manager Bo Porter, trying to learn as much as he can about the Astros’ promising young pitchers, which he admits will be harder considering there are no names on the backs of the jerseys.

“It was fun to listen in on the coaches meeting,” he said. “A lot of great coaches are here to help these young kids kind of find their way, take the next step. Hopefully that’s the case.”

Clemens said his message to the players will be simple.

“Right now, you want to get great quality work in, not really quantity,” he said. “I’ve always felt the ability to focus better than the next person is what’s going to help them the most, and have those expectations they can win even though everybody thinks they can’t.

“Some of the excitement will wear off here after a week and games will get underway, and then  it’s trying to establish yourself. From what I understand from all the other pitching coaches floating around here is there’s plenty of jobs to be had on the staff, so that’s exciting. I’ve seen most of these guys.

“I know there’s not names on the backs on their jerseys, and that makes it a little more difficult. I’ve seen most of them and have thrown batting practice to some of the everyday players that are here now and doing the same things I’ve always done. I visit with the guys by phone or text and watch them, and that’s what it’s all about.”

When the season starts, Clemens will stay involved. He’s a season-ticket holder so he’ll be around the ballpark often, and the Astros will lean on him heavily when debating which player to take with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s First-Year Player Draft.

“I’ve seen film on guys they’re interested in and it’s always better to be able to eyeball them in person,” he said. “My deal is, I love rooting for the underdog. I’ve always been that way. I won 200 games with my stuff and my ability and [the rest] with my heart and getting it done. I’m excited. I’m a season-ticket holder, so I’m excited just like anybody else is for these guys to get out there.”

Porter has made a great first impression on Clemens.

“Bo has a lot of energy,” he said. “I like his detail. He pays attention to detail, and I like him talking about the running game a lot. For me, as a pitcher, I can just tell them… I don’t know our personnel and the guys that can run, but I imagine we have some guys who can run and get it done.”

Clemens was asked about the recent Hall of Fame vote, saying he wasn’t concerned with not getting elected on his first time on the ballot this year. He said his stint with the Sugar Land Skeeters last fall was simply about getting to play with his son, Koby, and not about making a comeback as so many had speculated.

Still, Clemens said he might get on the mound this spring and throw live batting practice, which would help him stay in shape and perhaps help the batters.

“I really enjoy doing it,” he said. “I try and throw quality BP and it’s fun for the guys. They seem to enjoy it. I can tell when a guy steps in the plate, I can tell him what I see and how I’m going to go about breaking him down as a hitter.”

First day of full workout goes well for Astros

Astros hitters will get their first look at live pitching during workouts Sunday, when the pitchers will throw to batters with a screen in front of the mound. There will be four days of live batting practice before the manager Bo Porter will hold an intra-squad game on Thursday.

“I just want the pitchers to make it through safe,” Porter said. “That’s more pitching practice than live batting practice. Whenever you incorporate screens and the backstops, that’s always been tough on the position players. It’s more about the pitchers than anything else. It does all those guys good to see a live arm and pick up the velocity on the baseball.”

The team will meet with the Major League Baseball Players’ Association on Friday and hold a like workout in advance of Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla. Porter said the real evaluating of the players won’t begin for a while.

“Right now I’m honing on guys’ workouts,” he said. “When you get to the beginning stages of Spring Training and you don’t have the competition aspect of another team, you want to watch guys and see how they work. You watch them from a fundamental standpoint and see if anyone needs extra, extra, extra work as far as a particular fundamental.”

Porter stressed fundamentals to his club again Saturday, saying that in the American League teams don’t usually bunt until they’re behind late in the game. He said it’s vital teams field those bunts successfully to get outs to increase their chances of winning.

“You increase your chances of winning the game when you execute these plays properly,” he said. “It puts an emphasis on it, and the players actually understand the significance.”

  • In case you missed it, Astros owner Jim Crane told MLB.com he was looking forward to playing golf with President Barack Obama on Sunday. Obama is spending the weekend at Crane’s Floridian National Golf Club. MLB.com has the details.

Here are the pictures of the first full-squad workout:

Justin Maxwell poses for a baseball card photo.

Justin Maxwell poses for a baseball card photo.

Nate Freiman signs for fans.

Nate Freiman signs for fans.

Chris Carter poses for a baseball card photo.

Chris Carter poses for a baseball card photo.

Chris Carter and Carlos Pena talk at the cage.

Chris Carter and Carlos Pena talk at the cage.

Carlos Pena takes BP.

Carlos Pena takes BP.

Hitting coach John Mallee talks to J.D. Martinez at cage.

Hitting coach John Mallee talks to J.D. Martinez at cage.

Lucas Harrell looks for someone to high five.

Lucas Harrell looks for someone to high five.

Astros players with post-workout handshake.

Astros players with post-workout high five.

Former Astros MVP Richard Hidalgo, who lives in the area, watches the workout.

Former Astros MVP Richard Hidalgo, who lives in the area, watches the workout.

Pitcher Sam Demel throws to first base.

Pitcher Sam Demel throws to first base.

Third base coach Dave Trembley gives directions.

Third base coach Dave Trembley gives directions.

Morgan Ensbergh, infield coach for Class A Lancaster, hits grounders.

Morgan Ensberg, infield coach for Class A Lancaster, hits grounders.

Former Astros SS Adam Everett, an infield instructor, hits grounders.

Former Astros SS Adam Everett, an infield instructor, hits grounders.

Bud Norris.

Bud Norris.

Bo Porter talks to the media.

Bo Porter talks to the media.

Jim Crane talks to the media.

Jim Crane talks to the media.

Jim Crane's helicopter takes off.

Jim Crane’s helicopter takes off.

Short work day in advance of full-squad workout

Following a day of steady rain that drenched the back fields at Osceola County Stadium, the Astros kept things light in Friday’s final workout before the full team hits the field on Saturday.

Three groups pitchers, including Erik Bedard, Philip Humber, Jordan Lyles, Dallas Keuchel, Jose Veras and Josh Fields, got their work in on the mound, but the pitchers got a break from their fundamental stations.

“We didn’t want to mess up the fields,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “The dirt is a little bit soft. I talked to the grounds crew they strongly recommended that if we could stay off the field it would be better moving forward.”

Friday marked the official reporting date for position players, and outfielder Chris Carter — acquired in a Feb. 4 trade with Oakland — shortstop Jonathan Villar, catcher Carlos Perez and outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin were among those showing their faces for the first time.

Here’s video of Carter talking to MLB.com on Friday morning.

Porter will address the team as a whole for the first time Saturday at 9 a.m. ET, with owner Jim Crane and president and CEO George Postolos scheduled to be in town as well for the first full-squad workout.

“Guys are eager to get here and get around teammates and get started,” Porter said.

In other news:

  • Relief pitcher Hector Ambriz, who rolled his ankle in a drill Thursday, wasn’t able to throw off the mound Friday. He was seen by a team doctor and diagnosed with an ankle sprain and put in a walking boot. Porter said he is day-to-day.

The day was abbreviated, but there was still time for pictures:

Rene Garcia greets shortstop Jonathan Villar.

Rene Garcia greets shortstop Jonathan Villar upon his arrival in camp.

First base coach Dave Clark and GM Jeff Luhnow talk.

First base coach Dave Clark and GM Jeff Luhnow talk.

Our first look at catcher Carlos Perez, acquired from Toronto last July.

Our first look at catcher Carlos Perez, acquired from Toronto last July.

Ross Seaton signs an autograph.

Ross Seaton signs an autograph.

Rule 5 pick up Josh Fields prepares to throw a pitch.

Rule 5 pick up Josh Fields prepares to throw a pitch.

Rudy Owens, acquired from Pirates in Wandy Rodriguez trade, works in bullpen.

Rudy Owens, acquired from Pirates in Wandy Rodriguez trade, works in bullpen.

Catcher Rene Garcia puts on his gear.

Catcher Rene Garcia puts on his gear.

A coach greets bullpen coach Dennis Martinez.

A coach greets bullpen coach Dennis Martinez.

Bench coach Eduardo Perez lays down the law.

Bench coach Eduardo Perez lays down the law.

Rain cuts short day, but not the fun

It drizzled on and off Thursday morning, but the Astros still managed to get in a full workout on the back fields at Osceola County Stadium. But just as the pitchers and catchers were gathering for their post-workout handshakes, manager Bo Porter sprung a surprise.

He order the players into the clubhouse and up the stairs, where he had them watch a video of pitcher fielding practice performed correctly. The video ended with the final three outs of last year’s perfect game thrown by Philip Humber, who was honored earlier in the day by Porter with a sparkling cider toast, complete with a phone call from catcher A.J. Pierzynski from Arizona.

“We made an adjustment with the shaking hands, and we moved that indoors and we had a little video set aside for the guys,” Porter said. “The last three outs of the video was Humber’s last three outs of his perfect game, and then we shook hands.”

Humber was taken back with all the attention.

“It was good to do something like that,” he said of the morning toast. “Nothing to do with me, but to have something for the team to come together over. I thought it was a really good deal. I wasn’t expecting it. It was fun for everybody.”

And don’t miss today’s feature on Jason Castro, who’s hoping to grow defensively while working with veteran catching instructor Jeff Murphy.

Thursday’s Astros notebook is full of information, including Porter’s thoughts on not having names on the backs of jersey this spring, how the team celebrated Humber’s perfect game from a year ago and why Edgar Gonzalez drove 34 hours to Spring Training. And much, much more.

Some other news from Thursday:

  • Outfielder Jimmy Paredes was the latest position to report to camp on Thursday. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said catcher Carlos Perez and infielder Jose Martinez, who had been held up on visa issues, were both expected to arrive on camp on time. Position players are scheduled to report Friday in advance of Saturday’s first full-squad workout.
  • Right-hander Hector Ambriz rolled his ankle during a drill Thursday and had to get the ankle taped up. Manager Bo Porter said it wasn’t serious. Meanwhile, catcher Max Stassi was held out of workouts again Thursday because of strained oblique, but it’s also minor and he could return to action any day.
  • Roger Clemens is expected to be in camp at some point this weekend. General manager Jeff Luhnow didn’t know if the Rocket would working with pitchers beginning Saturday or Sunday, but he’ll soon be back in Kissimmee. Morgan Ensberg, the former Astros MVP who’s returning to the club as a Minor League coach, arrived in town Thursday.

Here is the day in photos:

Jose Altuve signs an autograph.

Jose Altuve signs an autograph.

J.D. Martinez and Marwin Gonzalez head to hitting coaches.

J.D. Martinez and Marwin Gonzalez head to hitting cages.

Xavier Cedeno rocks and fires.

Xavier Cedeno rocks and fires.

Tony DeFrancesco sets the guys straight.

Tony DeFrancesco sets the guys straight.

Bullpen coach Dennis Martinez watches Kevin Chapman throw.

Bullpen coach Dennis Martinez watches Kevin Chapman throw.

Catching instructor Jeff Murphy works with Jason Castro.

Catching instructor Jeff Murphy works with Jason Castro.

Jimmy Paredes is all smiles as he arrives.

Jimmy Paredes is all smiles as he arrives.

Jason Castro catches a bullpen.

Jason Castro catches a bullpen.

Max Stassi, out with an oblique, watches the catchers.

Max Stassi, out with an oblique, watches the catchers.

Delino DeShields Jr. talks to a fan while he signs.

Delino DeShields Jr. talks to a fan while he signs.

Porter visits with veterans about leadership

Astros manager Bo Porter met with a group of players prior to Wednesday morning’s workout that he wants to take a leadership role on the club this spring. The meeting, which Porter dubbed “Astros Talk,” included Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan, Jason Jaramillo, Erik Bedard, Bud Norris, Philip Humber, Lucas Harrell, Wesley Wright, Jose Veras and Edgar Gonzalez.

“We talked about leadership, and there’s a reason why I picked those guys,” he said. “Some of those guys have been on other teams where obviously it hasn’t been the situation we have here where we have a lot of young guys, and a lot of times these guys have been on teams and they have been the young guys.

“They now find themselves in a situation they become the older spokesmen. Like I said to them, I want to make sure we’re all on one sheet of music and we understand what leadership is all about and how you can effectively lead. If they had any questions, I wanted to be available for them to answer those questions to make sure we’re on one accord.”

Most baseball names don’t have a captain as in some other sports. The Yankees are one team that has traditionally identified a singular captain. Porter doesn’t plan to do that in Houston. Instead, he’s giving the responsibility of leader the younger players to those with the most service time.

“I explained to them, we’re not looking for one leader,” Porter said. “We’re looking for a group of leaders, because I’m a firm believer that leaders have to exist in every area, every level of the organization if you want the organization to continue to grow and continue to thrive. And the leaders have to develop the next wave of leaders. We’re not looking for one; we’re looking for a group.”

The first injury of camp was reported Wednesday morning when catcher Max Stassi, acquired in last week’s trade with Oakland, was diagnosed with a strained oblique. He will be held out of drills Wednesday.

“We’re going to pull him back a little bit as far as his workload goes,” Porter said. “He kind of tweaked his oblique a little bit.”

Here are a couple of quick morning photos:

Third base coach Dave Trembley is always smiling as he is here talking with Dave Clark and Dennis Martinez.

Third base coach Dave Trembley is always upbeat as he is here talking with Eduardo Perez and Dennis Martinez.

Bud Norris stretches prior to workout.

Bud Norris stretches prior to workout.

Tuesday morning update

Astros pitchers and catchers hit the field Tuesday morning at Osceola County Stadium for the first official workout of Spring Training. They’ll be joined on Saturday by the rest of the position players, many of whom are already in Kissimmee and working out.

Among those to arrive Tuesday were outfielders Rick Ankiel and Fernando Martinez, who said he has decided not to participate in the World Baseball Classic. Manager Bo Porter is thrilled to see so many position players in the field.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “We’ve had great participation in our offseason program and had guys in Houston working out throughout the offseason. You look around from a position-player standpoint, and I want to say we had about 15 players, position players, out yesterday doing a voluntary workout. It shows their anxiousness and excitement to get this thing started.”

Porter plans to address the team prior to Saturday’s workout, but he did have a few words before pitchers and catchers hit the field Tuesday.

“We talked about change,” he said. “You can look around and tell things are changed. We talked about the opportunities that present themselves in this organization. I told them, ‘Embrace both of them. Embrace change and embrace the opportunity,’ and we’re looking for guys to take the bull by the horn and take the opportunity to become Houston Astros.”

Here are some early photos:

Bullpen coach Dennis Martinez and Oklahoma City manager Tony DeFrancesco talk.

Bullpen coach Dennis Martinez and Oklahoma City manager Tony DeFrancesco talk.

 

Astros catcher Max Stassi is all smiles

Astros catcher Max Stassi is all smiles.

Pitcher Rhiner Cruz hits the field.

Pitcher Rhiner Cruz hits the field.

Jason Castro talks to bullpen assistant Jeff Murphy.

Jason Castro talks to bullpen assistant Jeff Murphy.

Bo Porter and Jeff Murphy.

Bo Porter and Brett Obertholzer.

Pitcher C.J. Ficks shares a laugh with teammates.

Pitcher C.J. Fick shares a laugh with teammates.

Jose Veras and Dennis Martinez shake hands.

Jose Veras and Dennis Martinez shake hands.

Pitchers and catchers listen to instruction prior to first workout.

Pitchers and catchers listen to instruction prior to first workout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New-look Astros kick off a new era

The smell of fresh paint, new carpeting in the clubhouse and sharp new uniforms hanging neatly in the lockers of the players were all reminders these are not your grandfather’s Astros. In fact, they’re pretty far removed from the 2012 Astros.

With pitchers and catchers reporting to Osceola County Stadium on Monday morning to shake hands, take physicals and get in a light workout, the Astros cranked up their first Spring Training as an American League club. New manager Bo Porter will have to wait until Tuesday to see the pitchers and catchers hit the field for the first official workout, but the start is near.

“I’m extremely anxious,” Porter said. “You spend your whole offseason waiting for this day to come and now that it’s here, obviously there’s a lot of anticipating of getting with the guys and you can see the excitement in their eyes. We’re just ready to get on the field and get started.”

Right-hander Philip Humber is one of 39 new faces to camp this year after spending last year with the White Sox. The Texas native was thrilled to pull on his No. 59 jersey.

“It’s that time of year when you’ve done everything you need to do to prepare for Spring Training and a new season and you start getting that itch it’s time to start putting everything you’ve done in the offseason to work,” he said. “I’m excited to be here, excited to meet all these new faces and just get started playing baseball.”

Many position players have already reported, well ahead of Friday’s official report date. All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve arrived in Florida on Saturday. Also spotted Monday morning were Brett Wallace, Matt Dominguez, J.D. Martinez, Brandon Barnes, Justin Maxwell, Jake Elmore and Marc Krauss.

“I feel really good, and I wanted to get here a little early to get ready and prepare the right way to star the season,” Altuve said.

Here are some morning pictures:

Sign as you enter the clubhouse.

Sign as you enter the clubhouse.

Worker gets the field ready.

Worker gets the field ready.

Astros manager Bo Porter reports for work.

Astros manager Bo Porter reports for work.

new uniforms hung neatly in lockers.

New uniforms hung neatly in lockers.

Wes Wright unloads a box while talking to Lucas Harrell.

Wes Wright unloads a box while talking to Lucas Harrell.

More motivation for the players, courtesy of Bo Porter.

More motivation for the players, courtesy of Bo Porter.

Catcher Jason Jaramillo emerges from clubhouse.

Catcher Jason Jaramillo emerges from clubhouse.

Jason Castro on his way to the field.

Jason Castro on his way to the field.

Bo Porter talks to the media in the morning.

Bo Porter talks to the media in the morning.

Pitching coach Doug Brocail and pitchers prepare to stretch.

Pitching coach Doug Brocail and pitchers prepare to stretch.

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