2/28/2013 1:34 P.M. ET
Paredes soaked up advice from Cano in offseason
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- A split-squad Yankees club that didn't have any household names was at Osceola County Stadium on Thursday, which meant Astros outfielder Jimmy Paredes didn't get a chance to say hello to friend Robinson Cano.
Paredes worked out with Cano this offseason in the Dominican Republic and soaked up as much advice as he could from the four-time All-Star.
"He told me a lot of things about hitting," said Paredes, who was moved to the outfield last spring. "He told me to see the ball and look for a good pitch you can drive. He said, 'Don't swing at bad pitches. Don't swing at the pitcher's best pitch.' He's a good guy."
Paredes' offseason regimen when he wasn't playing winter ball began every day at 6:30 a.m. with a workout to get stronger. He did a lot of agility work in the gym and has gained about 15 pounds of muscle, pushing his weight up to about 215.
"Every day I worked on my body," Paredes said.
Carter makes first spring start in left field
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros got their first look at Chris Carter in left field Thursday against a Yankees split squad. Carter, acquired from Oakland on Feb. 4, had seen some time at first base this spring, but Houston would ideally like him to be its starting left fielder.
"He's a huge part of our offense, and from a balance standpoint, it would give us more options if he can play left field, and we're going to take a long look at him this spring," manager Bo Porter said.
Carter has been getting work in the outfield with first-base coach Dave Clark, who's confident the 6-foot-4 slugger will be able to handle it.
"If given a chance to play out there, he'll be able to hold his own," Clark said. "It's going to come down to the willingness. With the chance of the roster filling out the way we think it might, he may have to spend some time playing first, left and DHing. He's a pretty good athlete, and any time you get a good athlete, it's not going to that hard of an adjustment."
Carter has played 66 games in the Major Leagues at first base and 22 in left field. In the Minor Leagues, he's played 511 games at first, 83 at third base, 39 in left field, 24 in right field and even one at shortstop, which gives you an idea of the kind of athlete he is.
I'm playing [left field], I want to do the best I can out there instead of being a liability to the team," Carter said.
Clark said playing the outfield during Spring Training is challenging, considering the bright skies, the lack of a backdrop and the wind.
"But if we see him working and taking good routes and doing drop steps and making good turns, that lets me [assess him] a lot," Clark said. "It looks like he has good hands, too. He'll be fine."
Castro unsure about ban on home-plate collisions
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros catcher Jason Castro isn't so sure he's ready for baseball to ban home-plate collisions -- a belief made public this week by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.
"It's part of the game," said Castro, who can see both sides of the argument. "I've been hit a few times. It's a dangerous part of the sport. I think, either way, there needs to be kind of a decision one way or the other. … There would have to be a complete ban or leave it the way it is.
"If they try to change the rules and in the heat of the moment trying to remember what's allowed, what's not allowed, those kinds of things, that's what really can get guys hurt when there's in-between thinking."
Castro was bowled over in a nasty collision at the plate last year with Milwaukee's Mat Gamel, who lowered his shoulder and plowed into Castro. He held onto the ball and stayed in the game.
"It's not something you ever really think about until it happens," Castro said. "It's over so fast. Even when I got hit last year in Milwaukee, the rest of the game I wasn't thinking about it after that. There have been guys who have suffered bad injuries, and I can see why people would be pushing for a rule change, because you don't want to see guys hurt. I definitely understand that side of the argument."
• Roger Clemens, who's working as a special assistant to the general manager this year, returned to Astros camp Thursday for his second of three scheduled stints this spring and spoke to several pitchers after morning stretch.
• Catcher Max Stassi wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning that his surgery went well and that he was hoping to be ready for Opening Day. Stassi went to Philadelphia to be examined by Dr. William Meyers for a possible sports hernia. Stassi, acquired from the A's on Feb. 4, was held out of most spring drills with what was originally called a strained oblique.