Results tagged ‘ George Springer ’

Porter not fan of Springer’s headfirst slides

With high-flying Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a sprained left thumb, manager Bo Porter — who worked with Harper while a third-base coach of the Nationals for two years – expressed concern of the danger of sliding head first on the bases.

Astros rookie right fielder George Springer, who like Harper plays with ultra aggressiveness, has slid headfirst at least a couple of times since was called up, including once into home plate. Harper hurt the thumb Friday against the Padres when he slide headfirst following a three-run triple and jammed the finger into the base.

He said he’s told his players he prefers them sliding with feet first.

“I don’t like headfirst slides,” said Porter, who still communicates with Harper via text messages. “It just exposes too much of your body and you can get finger hands [hurt]. I really don’t like headfirst slides. Players, for whatever reason, guys that like to slide head first, it’s more of a knee-jerk thing as far as their sliding technique. It’s something I really don’t like, especially when you talk about first base and home plate and the risk of injuries that could happen.”

Porter admitted than when he was a player he would try not to slide head first, but sometimes instincts take over.

“I think sometimes with guys, it’s just a reaction,” he said. “You may even want to slide feet first and the ball could take the person one way or another, and before you know it your instincts take over.”

Earlier this year, Angels slugger Josh Hamilton tore a ligament in his left thumb after sliding headfirst into first base and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. Harper will be sidelined when the Nats visit Minute Maid Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

Luhnow discusses Springer, Singleton and more

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Wednesday he had been thinking about calling up outfield prospect George Springer for several days prior to finally pulling the trigger. Springer will be in uniform for tonight’s game against the Royals at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros also reinstated right-hander Scott Feldman from the bereavement list and designated right-hander Lucas Harrell for assignment. Outfielder Robbie Grossman was optioned to Triple-A.

Springer was hitting .353 with three homers and nine RBIs at Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was the Astros’ first-round pick (No. 11 overall) in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Luhnow said a combination of factors led to his decision to call on Springer.

“We’ve been in touch with the crew at Oklahoma City and he’s been playing some right field, some center field,” he said. “Part of what we wanted to do was give him enough reps in right field to get used to reading the ball off the bat and all that. We feel pretty good with the reps he’s got in Spring Training and the reps he’s gotten so far during the season that defensively he’s ready to go.

“Offensively, he’s been heating up the last week or so and we want to get a guy when he’s hot. Flip side of the equation is, we’ve got guys here that are really struggling offensively and we’re hoping he adds that spark to our offense and gets everybody going. We need to get [Jason] Castro, [Chris] Carter, [Matt] Dominguez – you name it — everybody needs to get going with the exception of maybe [Jose] Altuve. Even [Dexter] Fowler’s been off since he came back. What better way to get them going than to bring up the rookie that potentially could be a game-changer.”

Luhnow had initially given himself a deadline of the end of this series against the Royals to call up Springer if the club was still struggling on offense like it’s been.

“After Saturday’s game when we scored those five runs in that one inning, I thought ‘OK, well maybe we’ve turned around and I’ll give it a little more time,’” he said. “When you start a season with a group of players, you want to give them enough time to succeed, but the reality is we’re at the point where we can’t afford to have players underperforming and playing every day. We can’t have that, so in the case of both Lucas and Grossman, it was time to make a change.

“We’re not in a position where we can let players struggle for long periods of time in Houston. That’s what Triple-A is for and there are other options, and we have enough talent in our organization where everybody needs to realize that if you’re not performing there’s another option for us, and we’re going to go and get that option at some point.”

Luhnow did admit he’s worried about the pressure Springer will face being viewed by most as the man who will save the team on offense.

Last year, Springer batted .303 with a .411 on-base percentage while slugging .600 with 37 homers, 45 steals and 83 walks between Double-A Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City en route to being named the Astros’ Minor League Player of the Year.

“I am concerned about that, but not enough to not make the move happen because the reality is he’s got a history of being an exciting player who can hit home runs and steal bases and play good defense,” he said. “If he just sticks to what he’s good at, he’s going to be fine. We think he’s ready. Everybody has some transition when they get to the big leagues, and I expect he will have some transition.

“He will have our support and I fully believe that he is a type of worker and player that will quickly address any deficiencies that reveal themselves and he will be what everybody hopes and expects him to be, which is a very good to great player.”

Of course, Springer wasn’t the only player off to a great start for the RedHawks. First baseman Jon Singleton has been crushing the ball, but his arrival in Houston isn’t imminent.

“We’re happy that Singleton is off to a good start,” Luhnow said. “He does not have the Triple-A track record that Springer has yet. We feel he needs to develop that track record. We’re always going to be in a position where our fans want our top prospects to come up here sooner than we think they’re ready to come up here.

“Last year, it happened to [Jarred] Cosart. We did bring Cosart up at the right time and when he came up he contributed and helped us win ballgames. He still is showing that deserves to be at this level and is ready to help us win.

“I believe Springer, this is the right time for him. I think he’s ready defensively. He’s not going to a perfect player, but he’s going to be a darn good player and has a chance to be a very special player. We don’t feel the rest of the guys are quite there yet. We monitor it on a week to week basis and that could change.”

Grossman went 0-for-4 on Tuesday, was hitting .125 with six hits in 48 at-bats and has had a few misplays on defense. The rough start came as a surprise to Luhnow, but he hasn’t lost faith in Grossman.

“We saw what he’s capable of doing at the end of last year,” he said. “He’s capable of being a very effective two-way player and we handed him that left-field every day job and he played every game so far this year. He was given every opportunity. It was disappointing for him primarily, but also to us. I’m fully confident that Robbie will go to Triple-A and find his stroke and sort everything out and make it back here later this year and will help us win ballgames. I’m confident of that.”

When it comes to Harrell, the team was left with little choice after he went 0-3 with a 9.49 ERA to start the season. He was 11-11 with a 3.76 ERA in 32 starts in a breakout 2012 season and faltered last year and led the league in walks and losses. The Astros have 10 days to trade him, release him or send him to the Minor Leagues.

“I think the reality is we gave him all of last year and three starts this year,” Luhnow said. “He deserved all that opportunity because he was good for us in 2012, but quite frankly we feel like at this point a change of scenery may be in the best interest of both Lucas and the Astros. Whether that means with another club or Triple-A, it’s not something we feel like we can continue to do in Houston at this point.”

Luhnow said either Jerome Williams or Brad Peacock would occupy the final spot in the rotation, replacing Harrell. They both were competing for it in Spring Training before being moved to the bullpen.

“I’ll talk to Bo [Porter], but my assumption would be to give the first opportunity to both of those two guys,” he said.

Springer on way to Houston

Outfielder George Springer, one of the team’s most anticipated prospects in years, will be called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday to infuse life into the Astros offense, a source told MLB.com. Outfielder Robbie Grossman was told following Tuesday’s game he was being sent down.

The Astros have not confirmed the roster move.

Springer, the Astros No. 3 prospect and No. 21 overall, continued his assault on Minor League pitching Tuesday. He went 3-for-4 with a grand slam, a walk and four runs in Oklahoma City’s 11-9 victory at Colorado Springs. The home run was Springer’s third of the season and second in as many nights.

Springer, who was removed from Tuesday’s game Oklahoma City game at Colorado Springs, is hitting .353 with three homers and nine RBIs.

The Astros are hitting .185 as a team through 14 games with several players struggling, including Grossman. He went 0-for-4 on Tuesday and is hitting .125 with six hits in 48 at-bats.

Astros’ young guns on display

The Astros’ top three prospects – shortstop Carlos Correa, first baseman Jon Singleton and outfielder George Springer – were all in the lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Tigers at Osceola Count y Stadium. Also in the lineup was the team’s No. 7-rated prospect Delino DeShields Jr., who replaced Dexter Fowler about 15 minutes prior to game time

Fowler was scratched because of stiffness in his neck, and the team said it was purely precautionary.

Singleton and Springer have a shot to make the Opening Day roster, but seeing them in the same lineup along with veterans like Fowler, Jose Altuve and Jason Castro gives you a glimpse of what the Astros could look like in the near future.

“It will be good to go out there and play some with pretty talented guys,” Springer said.

Astros manager Bo Porter will handle the playing time of veterans and youngsters differently. For guys like Fowler, Altuve and Chris Carter, he’ll talk with them about how many at-bats they need. The prospects get as many at-bats as Porter deems necessary.

“They’ve come here this year fresh off another year in the Minor Leagues in which they played at a high level,” Porter said. “We see these guys as part of our present and our future, and they’re going to get a long look this entire spring.”

Lineup vs. Tigers

CF DeShields

2B Altuve

C Castro

DH Carter

1B Singleton

RF Springer

LF Grossman

3B Dominguez

SS Correa

Astros invite players to Spring Training

Here are the bios of the non-roster invitees announced by the Astros on Tuesday:

1B Japhet Amador, 26, was acquired by Houston on Aug. 18, 2013, from Los Diablos Rojos del Mexico of the Mexican League. He was assigned to Triple-A Oklahoma City and went on to hit .302 (13-for-43) in 10 games for the RedHawks. Following the regular season, Amador played for Peoria in the Arizona Fall League and hit .284 (19-for-67) with four homers and 12 RBIs in 18 games. Prior to his acquisition, Amador hit .368 (147-for-400) with 22 doubles, 36 home runs, 121 RBIs and a .419 OBP in 104 games for the Diablos Rojos in 2013. He led the Mexican League in RBIs, while ranking second in homers and third in total bases (277).

RHP Mark Appel, 22, was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2013 MLB Draft out of Stanford University. After his selection, he made 10 starts combined for Class A Quad Cities (8 games) and Class A Tri-City (two games), combining to post a 3-1 record and a 3.79 ERA (16 earned runs/38 innings pitched). This followed his 2013 senior season at Stanford, where he went 10-4 with four complete games and a 2.12 ERA (25 earned runs/1061/3 innings pitched). He recorded 130 strikeouts in his 106 1/3 innings pitched and allowed just a .203 opponent’s batting average in his final season at Stanford.

RHP Jake Buchanan, 24, posted a 12-7 record and a 2.96 ERA (52 earned runs/1581/3 innings pitched) between OKC (12 games) and Double-A Corpus Christi (18 games) in 2013. He began his season with the Hooks, where he was named a Texas League All-Star after putting up a 2.09 ERA (19 earned runs/82 innings pitched) with nine walks in 82 innings. At OKC, he went 5-5 with a 3.89 ERA (33 earned runs/761/3 innings pitched) to go along with 55 strikeouts and 13 walks.

OF Adron Chambers, 27, played in 25 games for the St. Louis Cardinals last season, his third straight year to play in the Majors. He spent the majority of his season at Triple-A Memphis, hitting .252 (84-for-333) with 13 doubles, eight homers, 43 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. He has appeared in 84 Major League games in his career, all coming with the Cardinals from 2011-13.

SS Carlos Correa, 19, who was the first overall selection in the 2012 draft, played his first full professional season at Quad Cities last year, posting a .320 (144-for-450) batting average with 33 doubles, nine home runs and 86 RBIs in 117 games. Defensively, he led all Midwest League shortstops in fielding percentage while playing the entire season at the age of 18. According to MLB.com, Correa is the Astros No. 1 prospect and ranks as the No. 3 shortstop prospect in all of baseball.

RHP Rhiner Cruz, 27, was outrighted off of the Astros’ 40-man roster on Dec. 23, 2013, after having two stints in the Major Leagues with Houston last season. Over those two stints, Cruz posted a 3.38 ERA (eight earned runs/211/3 innings pitched) in 20 appearances. The right-handed reliever has made 72 appearances with the Astros over the last two years after being selected with the first overall pick in the 2011 Rule 5 Major League draft.

RHP Jorge De Leon, 26, posted a 5.40 ERA (six earned runs/10 innings pitched) in 11 games across two stints for the Astros in 2013. He was one of 10 Astros pitchers to make their Major League debut last season, making his on Aug. 9 vs. Texas. The former Minor League infielder converted to the mound in 2010 and has pitched the last four seasons in the Astros system. He was outrighted off the Astros 40-man roster following the season on Oct. 17.

CF Delino DeShields, 21, will be a non-roster invite at Major League Spring Training for his second consecutive season. In 2013 at Lancaster, DeShields hit .317 (143-for-451) with 100 runs scored, 25 doubles, 14 triples, five homers, 51 stolen bases and a .405 on-base percentage. The eighth-overall selection in the 2010 draft will come to Spring Training as an outfielder after playing second base in each of his last three professional seasons.

RHP Bobby Doran, 24, combined to go 11-2 with a 3.51 ERA (54 earned runs/1381/3 innings pitched) in 31 games with OKC  (eight games) and Corpus Christi (23gs) last season. The 6-foot-6 right-handed starter was originally drafted by Houston in the fourth round of the 2010 draft out of Texas Tech. The 2014 season will be his fifth in the Astros; organization.

RHP Mike Foltynewicz, 22, went 6-3 with a 3.06 ERA (44 earned runs/129 1/3 innings pitched) in 30 games combined with Corpus Christi (23 games/16 starts) and Lancaster (seven games/five starts) last season. The hard-throwing, right-hander registered 124 strikeouts in his 129 1/3  innings pitched last season, while allowing just a .226 opponent’s batting average, including a .207 mark at the Double-A level. He was originally the 19th overall selection in the 2010 Draft.

C Rene Garcia, 23, will be making his fourth consecutive appearance as a non-roster invite at the Astros Major League Spring Training camp. He spent his 2013 season between Oklahoma City (18 games) and Corpus Christi (73 games), combining to hit .293 (108-for-368) with 20 doubles, five home runs and 42 RBIs. Known as a strong defensive catcher, Garcia caught 29 of 63 attempting basestealers (46 percent) in 2013.

C Tyler Heineman, 22, hit .286 (106-for-370) with 23 doubles, 13 home runs and 71 RBIs in 104 games with Lancaster last season. The switch-hitting catcher is entering his third professional season, and just his second full season, after being selected out of UCLA in the eighth round of the June 2012 Draft.

OF Leo Heras, 23, like Amador, was acquired by Houston on Aug. 18, 2013, from Los Diablos Rojos del Mexico of the Mexican League. After his acquisition, he played in 10 games for Corpus Christi, posting two doubles, one triple, one home run and five RBIs for the Hooks. In 91 games for the Diablos Rojos last season, Heras hit .310 (104-for-335) with 19 doubles, nine triples, 11 homers, 42 RBIs, 14 stolen bases and a .398 OBP.

OF J.D. Martinez, 26, hit .250 (74-for-296) with 17 doubles, seven home runs and 36 RBIs in 86 games for the Astros last season before being outrighted off of the club’s 40-man roster on Nov. 20, 2013. Following the 2013 regular season, Martinez played in 24 games for Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League, posting a .312 (29-for-93) average with six doubles, six home runs and 18 RBIs. He has appeared in 252 games for Houston over the last three seasons (2011-13).

3B Jonathan Meyer, 23, hit .260 (126-for-484) with 24 doubles, 15 home runs and 68 RBIs en route to being named a Texas League All-Star in 2013. He was the Hooks’ everyday third baseman, making 123 starts at the position. Following the season, Meyer played for Peoria in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .286 (14-for-49) with three doubles, one homer and seven RBIs.

RHP Peter Moylan, 35, made 14 appearances across two Major League stints with the Dodgers last season. He spent the majority of his 2013 campaign at Triple-A Albuquerque, posting a 4-1 record with four saves and a 2.74 ERA (14 earned runs/46 innings pitched) in 38 appearances. Moylan has pitched in the Major Leagues in each of the last eight years with Atlanta (2006-12) and Los Angeles (2013), making 309 career relief appearances and posting a 21-9 record and 2.80 ERA (86 earned runs/276 innings pitched).

C Carlos Perez, 23, will be making his second straight appearance at Astros Major League Spring Training. He split his 2013 season between Oklahoma City (75 games) and Corpus Christi (16), hitting .271 (86-for-317) with 18 doubles and 37 RBIs. The 2014 campaign will be Perez’s second full season in the Astros system after being acquired in Houston’s 10-player trade with Toronto at the 2012 trading deadline.

IF Gregorio Petit, 29, is joining the Astros from the Padres organization, where he hit .292 (147-for-503) with 26 doubles and 61 RBIs in 134 games at Triple-A Tucson last season. He also had a solid winter league season, hitting .312 (48-for-154) with 12 doubles, 10 homers and 27 RBIs with Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League. Petit has some Major League experience, appearing in 25 games with Oakland in the 2008-09 seasons and hitting .278 (15-for-54) in those contests.

OF George Springer, 24, was named the Astros Minor League Player of the Year after combining to hit .303 (149-for-492) with 106 runs scored, 27 doubles, 37 home runs, 108 RBIs and 45 stolen bases with OKC (62 games) and Corpus Christi (73 games) last season. He became the first Astros Minor Leaguer to ever reach the 30-homer, 30-steal plateau and fell just three home runs shy of reaching the 40-40 mark, which hasn’t been accomplished in Minor League baseball since 1956. He was originally the 11th overall selection in the June 2011 draft.

RHP Jason Stoffel, 25, posted a solid season in 2013 while pitching in relief for Oklahoma City (44 games) and Corpus Christi (seven games). He combined to go 8-1 with five saves and a 3.23 ERA (25 earned runs/692/3 innings pitched) in 51 appearances, while allowing just a .232 opponent’s batting average. A Triple-A All-Star in 2013, Stoffel was one of two players acquired by Houston from San Francisco in exchange for IF Jeff Keppinger on July 19, 2011.

IF Ronald Torreyes, 21, was originally acquired by Houston on July 2, 2013, from Chicago (NL) in exchange for international signing pool space. On the season, Torreyes combined to hit .269 (101-for-375) with 19 doubles and 37 RBIs for Corpus Christi (38 games) and Double-A Tennessee (65 games). Over his four Minor League seasons, the middle infielder has recorded more walks (98) than strikeouts (96) in 376 career games.

RHP Nick Tropeano, 23, spent his third professional season at Corpus Christi and led the Texas League with 130 strikeouts last season. In what was his first taste of the Double-A level, the fifth-round selection in the 2011 Draft posted a 7-10 record with one complete game, five saves and a 4.11 ERA (61 earned runs/133 2/3 innings pitched) in 28 games, including 20 starts. Tropeano has posted 359 strikeouts in 345 innings in his career in the Astros; Minor League system.

OF Preston Tucker, 23, split his first full professional season with Lancaster (75 games) and Corpus Christi (60 games) after getting drafted by the Astros in the seventh round of the 2012 draft. He combined to hit .297 (159-for-535) with 32 doubles, 25 homers, 97 runs scored, 103 RBIs and an .872 OPS in 135 games between the two levels. Tucker finished his season ranking tied for seventh in all of Minor League baseball in RBIs.

Springer finishing out season at Oklahoma City

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow for the first time Friday said the outfielder George Springer would stay at Triple-A Oklahoma City for the rest of its season, which could include a trip to the playoffs. Whether Springer gets called to Houston afterwards remains to be seen, but don’t expect him in an Astros uniform anytime soon.

Oklahoma City finishes its regular season Sept. 2, but appears headed for the playoffs.

“The most important thing I want everybody to focus on is he’s having a great year, he’s a guy that unless something changes is going to be in our outfield next year,” Luhnow said. “All this discussion about what day is he coming up is really not that relevant right now. What’s relevant is a he’s a guy we’re excited about, he’s having a tremendous year, we’re going to let him finish his year at Oklahoma City and make a determination after that as far as how much time’s left and whether or not is makes sense to bring him up.

“I see him as a guy who’s going to come to Spring Training next year competing for our every day center fielder job, and I see him as a big part of our team next year. That’s really the message I want our fans to focus on, not worry too much about the date he comes up. There’s a lot of factors that go into it, and we’ll make the best decision for the organization.”

Springer, 23, has split time between Double-A Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City, hitting a combined .303 with a Minor League-leading 33 homers and 98 RBIs with 38 stolen bases entering play Friday. He’s the first player in the Minors to hit 30 home runs and steal at least 30 bases since former Oakland Athletics farmhand Grant Desme in 2009.

“As a general manger, when the fans are asking when your players are coming up because they want to see them in the big leagues, that’s a testament to our scouts and player development people and Springer himself for doing what he’s done this year,” Luhnow said.

Springer, Buchanan promoted to Triple-A

Outfielder George Springer, one of the Astros’ most promising prospects, joined teammate and right-handed pitcher Jake Buchanan in getting promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday. They will join the RedHawks after participating in the Texas League All-Star Game Tuesday at Northwest Arkansas.

Springer said he would fly to Oklahoma City on Thursday, where he will join top prospect Jonathan Singleton in the middle of the RedHawks lineup.

“I’m excited about it,” he said. “It’s another opportunity and another chapter and I’m looking forward to it.”

Springer was leading the run producer in the Texas League in the first half of the season, hitting .297 with 19 home runs and 55 RBIs. At the time of his promotion, he ranked among league leaders in hitting (sixth), home runs (tied for first), runs batted in (tied for second), stolen bases (23, tied second), hits (81, tied for fourth), doubles (20, fifth) and runs scored (56, first).

Springer fell one long ball short of becoming the second Hook to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season. Drew Sutton hit 20 home runs and stole 20 bases in 2008.

“I’ve just got to continue with the same thing, keep hitting the ball hard and string together good, quality at-bats and results will happen,” Springer said. “Don’t press and go out and play.”

Buchanan helped anchor a pitching staff that carried the Hooks for much of the first half, going 7-2 with a 2.09 ERA in 18 games, 13 of them starts. He earned Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Month in May after he did not allow an earned run and posted a 4-0 record. Buchanan led the Texas League in WHIP (0.93), ranked fourth in batting average against (.226) and fifth in innings pitched (82.0).

In 2012, the 23-year-old North Carolina State product went 5-6 with a 5.00 earned run average in 19 starts before a move to the bullpen. Houston drafted Buchanan in the eighth round of the 2010 draft. He earned the Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year award in 2011 after he went 5-10 with a 3.91 ERA for Class A Lancaster.

Corresponding moves have yet to be announced.

DeShields, Springer among Astros’ first cuts

The Astros made their first roster cuts of the spring Sunday morning, reassigning 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.

The cuts leave the Astros with 54 players in camp.

“The important thing for players like DeShields and Springer, who are a part of our future, was to come up here and make a good impression with a new staff and both of them absolutely did that,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “Goebbert has been a part of our Minor League system for a while and made a good impression, and Krauss had some big hits for us.

“The message to all those guys basically is you accomplished what your goal was this spring, you came up here and made a good impression on the staff. Krauss is a little bit closer. He’s a guy you could see having some time in Houston this year, and it’s nice when the staff has positive feelings about them so when we have a discussion, if there’s an opening later in the summer, they’ll be inclined to want him to come up.

“For all those guys, they did exactly what we wanted them to do.”

Minor League games begin on Thursday, and the Astros are expected to make another round of cuts later in the week, likely Wednesday. Players who were added to the 40-man roster for the first time this year can’t be cut from camp until Wednesday.

“It makes sense for them to go down there and get regular playing time rather than struggling to get at-bats up here,” Luhnow said. “As we get deeper and deeper into spring, the pitchers are going to be extended, but we want to see the position players be out there longer than two or three at-bats. It’s just a matter of allocating that resource of playing time.”

Luhnow said it hasn’t yet been determined at which level of the Minor Leagues the players cut on Sunday will begin the season. DeShields, the team’s first-round pick in 2010, was Houston’s Minor League Player of the Year after stealing a combined 101 bases last year. Springer, the team’s top Draft pick in 2011, put up big numbers at Class A Lancaster last year.

“Obviously, the more impressions they made here the better chance they have of starting at a higher level,” Luhnow said. “Realistically, given that Springer got a taste of Double-A last year and DeShields got a taste of high A, we don’t want to be too unrealistic about what the right level is for their development.”

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.”

Game 5: Springer leads offensive surge

What happened:  The Astros bashed out 18 hits, including a pair of home runs by George Springer in his first start of the spring, to beat the Blue Jays, 10-1, on Wednesday afternoon in Dunedin (boxscore).

What we learned: RHP Alex White will be a huge factor in the race for the rotation. White, acquired in last December’s trade that sent Wilton Lopez to the Rockies, threw two scoreless innings in his spring debut against a tough Blue Jays lineup, but his entire body of work this spring has opened some eyes.

“I put in a lot of time this offseason and made a lot of changes throughout my delivery to be more consistent,” White said. “I think now I’m just kind of seeing that I’ve put in the work and hopefully good things will happen. I have to make sure I throw a lot of strikes, and that’s the key.”

What we learned II: CF George Springer could be ready for prime time. Springer, who barely got his feet wet last year at Double-A, made his first spring start and clubbed a pair of impressive homers, a three-run shot in the fourth and a two-run shot in the fifth.

“It felt good,” he said. “I was trying to get my timing back and just hitting the ball hard. I honestly say the key to those at-bats were the guys who were on base ahead of me. [Matt] Dominguez and [Carlos] Corporan had some great at-bats and was able to get me into a fastball-hitting count.”

What we learned III: RHP Jarred Cosart is looking forward to getting a start. Cosart, a starter, has pitched twice in relief, throwing two scoreless innings Wednesday. He’s been piggybacking other starters, but should get a turn to start a game the next time through the rotation.

“It’s a little different as far as warming up and stuff,” he said. “I like to go out there pretty early before a game and get going. I’m in big league camp for the first time so I’ll go with my role and whatever they want me to do, I’ll do. I’ve adjusted well to it. We’ll see what happens from here, but hopefully I can get back in the starting routine.”

What else: Ten of the Astros’ 18 hits were for extra bases – eight doubles and two homers. … The Astros have 68 hits in six games. … C Carlos Corporan went 2-for-2 with two doubles and continues to draw praise from the pitchers. He’s hitting .667 early in the spring. … 1B Nate Freiman had a line drive double off center field wall, going 1-for-3 to raise his average to .385. … OF J.D. Martinez, starting in right field, had a pair of hits. … 3B Matt Dominguez went 2-for-2 with two runs scored.

What went wrong: Well, not much. Tyler Greene let a ball get past him at shortstop in the second, but the Astros wound up getting an out on the play to end the inning. … J.P. Arencibia homered off LHP Wesley Wright, who gave up three hits in one inning.

What they said: “Outstanding. He really laid into those two balls with really good swings and got the head out. I thought the second one was better than the first one. It was a good day all around. We swung the bat well and the pitching was outstanding.” – manager Bo Porter on Springer.

What’s next: RHP Lucas Harrell will become the first Astros starter to take the mound for the second time when he gets the ball for Thursday’s 12:05 p.m. CT game against the Yankees in Kissimmee. Harrell, the Astros’ Pitcher of the Year last season, went two innings and allowed four hits and two runs on Saturday against the Phillies in Clearwater in his first spring start. The game will be televised on CSN Houston with Alan Ashby making his return to the Houston airwaves.

Who’s injured: RHP Hector Ambriz (sprained ankle) is scheduled to face live pitching soon. . … C Max Stassi (oblique) was scheduled to get an MRI on Philadelphia on Wednesday for a possible sports hernia.

Links of the day: Check out the Astros notebook for Delino DeShields Jr. talking about getting to hit together in the lineup, prospect Telvin Nash on how/why he lost 30 pounds and the plan for J.D. Martinez to get time in right field.

And don’t miss the feature story on Wesley Wright, who has gone from Rule 5 pick to elder statesman in five years:

The day in photos

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Robbie Grossman

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J.D. Martinez

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MLB.com’s Richard Justice talks to Bo Porter

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GM Jeff Luhnow talks to bullpen coach Dennis Martinez

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Matt Dominguez

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Robert Ford interviews Nate Freiman

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