8/21/2013 8:04 P.M. ET
Stassi has an ideal mentor in Castro
By Master Tesfatsion / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Max Stassi said he's been quiet in the Astros clubhouse, but he's kept his ears open especially when Jason Castro speaks. Stassi has the rare opportunity to start his career backing up an All-Star catcher who was in his shoes three seasons ago.
"I'm very fortunate to be in this situation behind him and just to be able to see how he goes about his business," Stassi said. "He's a professional in everything he does. He's an awesome guy. I'm fortunate to pick his brain -- a very intelligent catcher and probably one of the smarter catchers in the game."
While this isn't the first time Stassi has interacted with Castro, he has absorbed the way Castro prepares for games at the Major League level for the first time. Stassi, who was traded from the A's in the offseason, met Castro during Spring Training, but the rookie had hernia surgery and was sent to Double-A Corpus Christi once he recovered.
Castro earned his first All-Star nod this year in his second full season, but the 26-year-old who made his big league debut in 2010 understands Stassi's situation very well.
"It's a weird feeling to see that it's been that long, but it really hasn't been that long since I've been in that situation," Castro said. "I feel like I've been through a lot through that time, and I feel like I've learned a lot. I'm glad that I'm in a position to help out and help make this transition as smooth as possible for a young catcher coming up."
Castro hopes to help Stassi understand what it takes to prepare for a game, which Castro feels is the biggest difference from the Minor Leagues, with scouting reports and video. Stassi has been the designated hitter in his first two games, but Astros manager Bo Porter said he will be behind the plate for one of their games against the Blue Jays this weekend. Porter felt Stassi's significance to the future of the organization played a big factor in his callup and the experience will serve him well.
"I think this here is a great learning experience that will not only help him the rest of this year, but it will also help him as move forward into next year," Porter said.
Chapman continues dominant stretch
ARLINGTON -- Kevin Chapman turned in his eighth straight appearance without allowing an earned run to start his career, besting by one outing the streak turned in by fellow Astros rookie Chia-Jen Lo this season. Prior to this year, the Astros hadn't had a rookie start his career with seven or more outings without allowing an earned run since Mike Gallo in 2003.
"I love the fact that he's been attacking the strike zone," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "From the day we've called him up, he's done a good job attacking the strike zone to hitters."
The left-hander needed just 14 pitches to get through 1 1/3 innings against the Rangers in relief of Jarred Cosart, retiring three of the four batters he faced with a total of six pitches. Cosart forced Mitch Moreland to fly out to left on the first pitch of his appearance.
"Some of the coaches were giving me a hard time for just throwing one pitch, but that's what it's all about," Chapman said. "You just try to be efficient so you can come out the next day and help get another few more outs in a key situation and help the team win."
The only runs Chapman has allowed were two unearned runs against the Rangers on Aug. 10 in his second big league outing. They came on the only hit he allowed in that appearance, a home run to Elvis Andrus.
"You can't let that effect you, it's going to happen," Chapman said. "You just got to learn from it, watch video, see what the pitch was and don't do that one again. Learn from it, get it out of your memory and just keep pitching to your strengths."
Astros know mistakes are part of learning curve
ARLINGTON -- The Astros have 14 rookies on their active roster, so mistakes are bound to happen. Take for example Tuesday's big league debut of catcher Max Stassi, who went 2-for-3 but committing a baserunning blunder after his first hit. It's all part of the learning process the youngest club in the Majors has had to go through this season.
"It's cool because there's so many young guys and we can all go through the same thing at the same time," Kevin Chapman said. "We can all share that with each other. Stuff like last night when [Stassi] got caught off the base. It stunk because it was a really close game, but it's funny that it happened on his first time on base. I gave him a hard time about that, but it's all part of the learning curve."
Astros manager Bo Porter said the fact that the organization is building up its younger players, mistakes are expected, and mistakes like Stassi's won't keep players from establishing themselves in the big leagues.
"A lot of these guys are smart, they realize that this year is a great opportunity for a young guy to come into the Majors in an organization where the opportunity is going to be given you," Porter said. "You're going to have some time to fail, and you're going to continue to get opportunities."
The average age on the Astros roster is 25.4, over a full year younger than the second-youngest team in baseball, the Braves, which makes it easier for rookies to fit in and feel comfortable.
"It makes it a lot easier that everyone is new to this club too," Stassi said. "I can bounce questions off them that I probably wouldn't be comfortable asking a 10 to 15 year veteran. It's been a good time here so far."
• Astros manager Bo Porter said Thursday's off-day came at a good time following a nine-game road trip. The club will play 20 consecutive games starting Friday.
• Lucas Harrell has been placed back in the bullpen Wednesday. The Astros will go with Jordan Lyles, Brad Peacock and Dallas Keuchel during their three-game set with the Blue Jays Friday.
• Porter said Jonathan Villar could have played Wednesday, but he received the day off to rest his thumb.
Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.