6/29/2013 9:04 P.M. ET
Kids visit Astros as part of Porter's SELF Foundation
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Astros manager Bo Porter played host to a group of 35 kids from the Spring Spirit Baseball organization prior to Saturday's game as part of the Bo Porter SELF Foundation he and his wife, Stacey, began last year.
Porter treated the kids to lunch, replica Astros jerseys and autographs from players Justin Maxwell and Brandon Barnes, both of whom spoke to the kids about the importance of education and sports as a path to success.
"We go out in the community to try to find groups of kids from underprivileged areas and bring them to the ballpark and give them the experience of being around the Houston Astros and Major League Baseball," Porter said.
Porter's SELF Foundation stands for Sports, Education, Life skills, and Faith -- four things that Porter says are integral to him.
"When I think back to my childhood and look at the impact sports have had not only in my life, but my wife's life, it's a commitment we made to give back to the community and get involved and try to impact kids on the cornerstone areas that are important to us," he said.
Barnes jumps at the chance to help kids.
"It's a big role being a Major League Baseball player, and we need to give every opportunity we can and speak to kids," he said. "I kind of tell my story and how I used baseball and education as a way out of my area. I'm not saying my area is the worst area, but it's an opportunity to share my story with them and tell them how important education is. I wouldn't have scholarships to college or stuff like that."
Porter to talk to Blackley about aggressive tag
HOUSTON -- Astros manager Bo Porter said he plans to speak to relief pitcher Travis Blackley after he tagged out J.B. Shuck on the bases for the final out of the eighth inning with an aggressive shove to the back with his glove during the Astros' 7-2 loss to the Angels on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
Both Porter and Blackley chalked it up as a heat-of-the-moment-type play, but Porter still didn't like the aggressiveness.
"You have to control your emotions," he said. "I understand this is an emotional game, but at the same time, the other guy has feelings, too."
Blackley said he didn't think much of the play until veteran teammate Ronny Cedeno came to him in the dugout and told him it was uncalled for.
"I was just like fired up," Blackley said. "I haven't been having the best outings of late, and I don't know. I just had two hands in the glove and trying to lay the tag and not miss him. He's fast, and it just kind of happened like that."
The mellow Blackley said he would never try to hurt anyone.
"It was one of those things that the heat of the moment kind of got to me," he said. "I didn't mean anything by it."
Porter calls Scioscia to apologize for yell from dugout
HOUSTON -- Astros manager Bo Porter called Angels manager Mike Scioscia on Saturday morning and apologized for an incident that occurred in Friday's game.
In the sixth inning of the Angels' 4-2 win, Astros outfielder Chris Carter hit a popup in front of the Astros' dugout. Angels catcher Hank Conger was camped under the ball at the dugout railing with first baseman Mark Trumbo charging in, but no one caught the ball. Conger was charged with an error that was overturned after the official scorer learned someone had yelled something to Conger from the Houston dugout.
Porter acknowledged someone yelled at Conger, but he wouldn't say if it came from a player or a coach or what exactly was said. Conger told reporters he thought someone yelled, "I got it!"
"It came from our dugout," Porter said. "I called Mike this morning and he and I had a good conversation about it. I apologized to him on behalf of our ballclub. It's nothing I condone, but I take full responsibility and it won't happen again. It was handled the way it should be handled."
Earlier this year, Porter apologized to Scioscia for inadvertently making an illegal pitching change, a move that led to a two-game suspension and fine of umpire crew chief Fieldin Culbreth and fines for the rest of his crew.
Castro and wife hosting book drive at Minute Maid Park
HOUSTON -- Astros catcher Jason Castro and his wife, Maris, are hosting the Castro's Kids Book Drive this weekend to benefit the Houston Independent School District.
People can donate new or gently used, age-appropriate books for children from kindergarten through 12th grade at the gates of Minute Maid Park on Saturday and Sunday. Those donating to the drive will be entered into a raffle to win Astros autographed memorabilia, courtesy of the Castros. Jason and Maris are contributing additional books, and will deliver the donations to select public schools in the Houston Independent School District.
"We're going to collect them all and we're going to have some outside donations as well, and Maris and I are going to contribute on top of that," Jason said.
Castro, who is just a few hours shy of a degree from Stanford, said his favorite book is Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," but lately he's found himself reading more non-fiction.
"['The Da Vinci Code'] was the first book that really kind of made me want to read more," he said. "I read more non-fiction and like reading books like 'Lone Survivor,' the story of Marcus Luttrell and the Navy SEAL team."
• Justin Maxwell, who entered Friday's game as a pinch-runner in his first action since returning from a concussion, wasn't in the lineup again Saturday, but Porter expects him to start a few games coming up considering the club is facing left-handers for three consecutive games beginning Sunday.