03/12/2013 6:31 PM ET
Martinez plays right to make room for Carter
By Christina De Nicola / Special to MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- J.D. Martinez found his name next to an unfamiliar spot when he looked at Tuesday afternoon's lineup.
Astros manager Bo Porter started him in right field, a position he has played just once over 152 big league games.
Porter's reasoning for the move was to give Chris Carter a chance to play in the outfield (in left). Carter, 26, has 66 Major League games at first and 22 in left. With a short wall and less ground to cover at Minute Maid Park, Porter believes Carter would be comfortable there.
"[J.D.'s] been doing a great job," Porter said. "J.D. played a lot of right field coming up in the Minor Leagues, so it just made sense to explore that option in Spring Training."
Martinez, who had surgery on his left hand last September, hit .241 with 11 home runs and 55 RBIs in 113 games after posting a .274 batting average, six homers and 35 RBIs in 53 games as a rookie in 2011. This spring, he is 8-for-30 (.267) with two doubles, one home run and four RBIs in 12 games.
"He hasn't had any setbacks at all," Porter said. "The main thing for us is that he was able to be injury-free and be able to do all the workload each and every day. He's been able to do that and we're satisfied with the progress which he's making."
Bedard, Harrell making way back
JUPITER, Fla. -- Astros manager Bo Porter anticipated a full injury update on a pair of pitchers back in Kissimmee following Tuesday afternoon's game against the Marlins.
According to Porter, left-hander Erik Bedard "should be ready to throw soon." He may even pitch in Wednesday night's game against the Braves.
Bedard, 34, has pitched just two innings this spring because of a right gluteal sprain. He suffered a similar injury in 2008 with the Mariners. Bedard threw 10 or 12 pitches off a mound last Friday.
"If all goes well with the report I get today, then [pitching coach] Doug [Brocail] and I will sit down and figure out where we're going to place him as far as getting him back into the rotation and getting him some live innings," Porter said.
The same goes for right-hander Lucas Harrell, who strained his right groin during last Tuesday's game against the Nationals while covering first base.
Porter hopes that by Wednesday morning both guys will be "back working." Harrell should be ready by the end of the week.
Harrell, who was the Astros' pitcher of the year in 2012, has been playing catch on flat ground. After a solid rookie season, Harrell, 27, is a candidate for the Opening Day start alongside Tuesday's starter, Bud Norris.
Barring any setbacks, Porter and Brocail will map out what comes next for both players.
"You don't want to do it prematurely and then now you're telling somebody else something totally different," Porter said.
Norris shaky in start vs. Marlins
JUPITER, Fla. -- Astros right-hander Bud Norris, a candidate for the Opening Day start, allowed four runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings Tuesday afternoon against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.
Norris surrendered a two-out, two-run blast to Kevin Kouzmanoff in the third inning. Of his 63 pitches, 40 were for strikes. He struck out one and didn't walk a batter.
Other than building his pitch count, Norris worked on both his two-seam fastball and changeup. Kouzmanoff hit one of his few sliders for the home run.
"It went pretty well," Norris said. "You're just trying to extend yourself these last couple of starts. I threw the ball really well. I felt good out there -- getting stronger, getting that pitch count up there. I'm still working on some things from the stretch, but I'm excited with the way I felt and I just want to keep building up on that strength."
It marked his first appearance in a Grapefruit League game since March 1 against the Cardinals when he allowed two runs on two hits over three innings. Norris also went two innings on Feb. 24 against the Mets, giving up one run on two hits. He threw 75 pitches in a simulated game this past Wednesday.
Entering his fourth full Major League season, Norris, 28, hopes to build off a 7-13 record and 4.65 ERA in 29 starts over 168 1/3 innings in 2012.
"[Simulated] games are a little bit different," Norris said. "Obviously the adrenaline's not there as much, and it's not game-like with the real umpires behind the plate. That went pretty well for me, and I'm just trying to wind down here with two weeks left and take it day-by-day."
• Manager Bo Porter said that outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin returned to Kissimmee from the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday and will work out with the group that stayed behind.
Lin, who played for Chinese Taipei, will be available for games on Wednesday.
• Marwin Gonzalez earned the start at shortstop instead of Tyler Greene on Tuesday afternoon against the Marlins. The pair is competing for the job. Both have now started nine games in Grapefruit League action.
Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.