9/1/2013 12:02 A.M. ET
Clark offers praise for Minors teammate Springer
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Catcher Cody Clark has adjusted to life in the Major Leagues after spending the previous 11 years in the Minors, but he's still keeping tabs on his former teammates at Triple-A Oklahoma City, which has clinched a playoff berth.
He talks often with No. 3 prospect George Springer, an outfielder, and pitcher Jason Stoffel, both of whom were his roommates in the Minors.
"I talked to them a few nights ago and offered them congratulations on winning, and I really hope they can win the whole thing and give me a [championship] ring," said Clark, who was called up Aug. 23 when Max Stassi went on the disabled list with a concussion.
Clark was on playoff teams 10 times in his 11 years in the Minor Leagues and won three league titles along the way.
As far as the talents of Springer are concerned, Clark compared him to Rays outfielder Wil Myers, who he played with at Triple-A Omaha last year in the Royals organization. Springer was hitting a combined .305 with 37 homers, 107 RBIs and 44 stolen bases combined at Double-A Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City with three games remaining.
"He's got unbelievable ability," Clark said. "I played this game a long time and had been in the Major Leagues a long time and I haven't really seen that ability. The only guy I could maybe compare him to was Wil Myers, who was with us last year. Very similar players. Springer can run better than Wil. As far as power and the way they swing the bat, those two guys are better than everybody else I've seen."
Stassi trying to stay prepared as he continues recovery
HOUSTON -- Now that catcher Max Stassi has cleared his head -- literally -- after suffering a concussion 10 days ago when he was hit in the face by a pitch, he's trying to do as much as he can to stay involved in game preparation on a daily basis.
Stassi, who sustained a concussion in his second Major League game on Aug. 21, is feeling much better, but still appears to be at least a few days away from returning to action. Catcher Carlos Corporan, who sustained a concussion Aug. 19 and was replaced by Stassi, is much closer to action.
Stassi has been putting some time in the video room each day to look at the opposing hitters.
"If you can't be out there or playing out there, you can always learn from that and see their strengths and weaknesses, and just listening to [starter Jason] Castro in pitcher-catcher meetings has been helpful," Stassi said. "That will help the learning curve when it's my turn go out there and play."
The biggest issue holding Stassi back is that he's feeling off balance at times.
"It's been a slow process, but I feel good," he said. "I'm learning at the Major League level and watching games and doing as much as I can in the video room."
Altuve proud to have father in attendance
HOUSTON -- The father of Astros second baseman Jose Altuve saw his son play for the first time as a Major Leaguer on Friday at Minute Maid Park, which the former All-Star said was something that was extremely significant to him.
Altuve said his father, Carlos Altuve, isn't thrilled about flying, but now that he's retired, he decided to fly from his home in Venezuela to see Jose in an Astros uniform.
"That's really important to me," Jose said. "He told me he's going to enjoy his time here and watch me play, even if I get hits or not. He said he's just happy seeing me for the first time playing."
Carlos Altuve was at his son's side earlier in his life during his youth ball days and when he signed with the Astros at 16 years old and began playing in the team's Venezuelan academy.
"He's been giving me support all my life and I appreciate that, and I'm happy here's here with me," Jose said.
Altuve, 23, went 0-for-4 on Friday, and was hoping Saturday would be the day he gets a hit for the first time with dad in the stands.
With September callups, Porter looks to evaluate future
HOUSTON -- The Astros announced after Saturday night's 3-1 loss to the Mariners that their first two September callups will be right-handed reliever Jorge De Leon and outfielder Trevor Crowe.
Between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City, De Leon had 3.46 ERA over 67 2/3 innings. Crowe was hitting .306 with three homers and 23 RBIs over 60 games in Triple-A.
With Oklahoma City headed for the playoffs, the Astros didn't want to do take too many players from the RedHawks and hurt their postseason chances.
Astros manager Bo Porter said he doesn't plan to manage differently with an expanded roster, which shouldn't be a surprise considering he has been in evaluation mode all season with the youngest team in baseball. Last year, interim manager Tony DeFrancesco squeezed as much as he could out of every pitching matchup with his expanded roster and wound up going 15-15 in the team's final 30 games.
DeFrancesco, of course, was managing to win as many games as he could so he would be considered for the full-time gig that eventually went to Porter. Winning is still important to Porter, but what happens from here on out is as much about next season as anything.
"If you guys have watched all year, I've tried to do everything I can to put these guys into situations we can evaluate how they're going to respond and how they're going to handle certain situations, and we'll continue to do that throughout the course of the year," Porter said.