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04/28/2013 3:00 PM ET

Scuffling Carter gets a day off

BOSTON -- Astros outfielder/designated hitter Chris Carter was hitting .140 (6-for-43) in his previous 13 games entering Sunday, prompting manager Bo Porter to give the struggling slugger his second day off this season.

Carter has been extremely streaky this year, beginning the season 2-for-21 (.095) before a five-game stretch from April 8-13 in which he hit .478 (11-for-23) with four homers and seven RBIs. Of his six hits since then, he has only one home run.

"I think he will become more consistent," Porter said. "Sometimes, from a manager's standpoint, you take it out of their hands and say, 'I'm going to give you a day.' This was more of a decision to give him a day -- and on top of it give Ronny Cedeno a chance to get more at-bats, as well."

Carter began Sunday with a Major League-leading 43 strikeouts, which was six more than anyone else. He's struck out in nearly half of his 88 at-bats entering Sunday.

"When you look at strikeouts, people always look at the last pitch and they go, 'Wow, he swung at that pitch down and way out of the zone,'" Porter said. "It takes three strikes to strike out. I actually think an adjustment more so needs to be made in strike one and strike two, because he's getting pitches to hit in strike one and strike two and those are balls he's not putting away with authority.

"When he was in his hot streak, you saw exactly what I just said. When he got pitches early in the count and that were in the strike zone, he put them in play and put them in play hard."

Porter trying to keep Veras sharp

BOSTON -- Because the Astros have had so few save chances this year, manager Bo Porter has tried to keep closer Jose Veras sharp by pitching him with no more than three days off between outings. Veras entered Sunday having appeared in 10 games, only three of which were save situations.

"I would love for Jose Veras to close five games in a row," Porter said. "Unfortunately, we haven't had that situation, but I'm not going to stymie his ability to get out [on] the mound and get the juices flowing. It's one thing to throw in the bullpen and [another] to get live game action on the mound.

"Whether or not we have a [save] situation, I'm not going to let him sit down there four days and not get in the game. In a perfect world, you want it to be every time once he gets in the game it's a closing situation. I have to make sure and be cognizant to keep him fresh."

Veras has converted two of three save chances this year -- and only has seven career saves -- so he's still a novice when it comes to closing. He's confident the save chances are going to come.

"It's a long season," Veras said. "It doesn't matter to me, as long as I pitch to help the team win ballgames. I don't think about saves. If I can get out there and get a 1-2-3 inning and keep the lead or win the game, I will be there. We're going to be OK."

Brian McTaggart is reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.