Results tagged ‘ Chris Carter ’
A week into the season, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he’s not concerned about the lack of production in the middle of his batting order. Through six games, the third, fourth and fifth spot in the Astros’ lineup were hitting .070 (4-for-57).
Those numbers are largely because of the struggles of designated hitter Evan Gattis (0-for-20) and Chris Carter (1-for-19), but they were back in the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the A’s. Carter sat out Sunday’s game after a tough game Saturday.
“I like that we’ve been able to keep our head above water a little bit without that kind of production – to hold serve or whatever analogy you want to use,” Hinch said. “It’s important for us to stay afloat while those guys are getting themselves on track.
“I don’t want to put any heightened press or expectations on them. They’re good players, good, productive offensive players. These 20, 25 at-bats, depending on when they happen, create different kinds of emotions for players. I don’t wake up thinking we have a problem in the middle of our order or these guys aren’t going to bounce back.”
Hinch had lunch with Gattis on Monday, but it was pure happenstance. He walked into Union State on Monday and Gattis was eating in the café in the lobby, and Hinch joined him. Gattis’ offensive woes never came up.
“You encourage them and continue to put them out there,” Hinch said. “These are our guys. They know that. Obviously, I’ve got a job to do to give them days off or get some sparkplugs in there if they are struggling. These guys know that we back them and they’re not going to continue to struggle in the production categories they have so far.”
Hinch reminded reporters the Astros have faced some tough pitching this year, including a Cleveland starting staff that was fourth in the AL in ERA and strikeouts last year.
“I think you have to put that into context as well,” he said. “These guys don’t go up to the batter’s box trying not to do something. … I don’t make too much out o fit, but I don’t leave it unaddressed.”
What happened: Chris Carter hit a pair of two-run homers and drove in five runs, and Bud Norris threw six strong innings to lead the Astros to an 11-2 win over the Blue Jay sat Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).
What we learned: LF Chris Carter has his timing down. Astros manager Bo Porter could tell early in the spring that Carter’s timing wasn’t great and preached it was only a matter of time before he came around.
“Carter has done a lot of extra work with[hitting coaches] John Mallee and Dan Radison, and they’ve done a tremendous job getting things dialed up with him and you’re starting to see the power display,” he said. “We knew when he got his timing down, he has power to all fields and he’s capable of doing what he did today consistently.”
What we learned II: RHP Bud Norris is ready for Opening Day, if the Astros choose to give him the assignment. Norris worked six innings against the Blue Jays and allowed three hits and two runs in six innings.
“The slider got lazy a couple of innings,” he said. “Obviously, the third inning when they scored there were a couple of bad sliders, but once I got it out of my head to go out there and compete and be confident with it, they started coming along. You’re always trying to locate. That’s the No. 1 priority, but attacking and being aggressive is also a priority.”
What else: In addition to the two homers by Carter, Houston also got long balls from C Jason Castro and IF Brandon Laird. Carter, Castro and Laird are tied for the team lead with four homers this spring, and Carter leads with 11 RBIs. … The 32 homers the Astros have hit this spring are three more than they hit in the entire spring schedule a year ago, and there are 14 exhibition games remaining. … LHP Erik Bedard followed Norris with three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out five batters, in his longest outing of the spring. Bedard had been slowed by a strained gluteal muscle, but he appears healthy now. … The Astros didn’t commit an error.
What went wrong: Well, not much. The Astros were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, but when you slug four homers, it doesn’t really matter.
What they said: “I don’t know how many pitches I threw, but to get the pitch count higher than it was at and to get up and down is the big key – how you feel in between innings.” – LHP Erik Bedard on his three-inning outing Sunday.
What’s next: The Astros are off Monday, but RHP Philip Humber will throw in a simulated game in Kissimmee. The team resumes Grapefruit League play Tuesday at 12:05 p.m. CT against the Jays in Dunedin, Fla., with RHP Jordan Lyles on the mound.
Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (lower back strain) is day-to-day.
Tweets of the day:
Links of the day: Astros notebook is chock full of information, including more on the roster cuts that came down Sunday morning and where prospect Carlos Correa will likely begin the 2013 season, and much more.
Video of Jeff Luhnow talking roster moves:
The day in photos
Outfielder Chris Carter, who was acquired from the A’s in a Feb. 4 trade, arrived in camp Friday morning and was excited about the opportunity he has in Houston. He’s expected to get plenty of playing time, likely in left field.
“It was nice to come over here,” he said. “They’re in a rebuilding stage and it’s good to be a part of that.”
The soft-spoken Carter, who has been traded three times since he was drafted by the White Sox in 2005, was in his hometown of Las Vegas working out when he found out he was traded. He had to get his car shipped to Florida and wrap his mind around his first Spring Training in Florida.
“It’s good opportunity for me to play every day and help the team win and have a better season than we did last year,” he said.
Carter hit .239 with 16 homers and 39 RBIs in only 67 games for the A’s last year, getting a career-high 218 at-bat.