7/5/2014 10:26 P.M. ET
Hernandez a surprise spark for Astros
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Astros manager Bo Porter went with the hot hand, keeping rookie Enrique Hernandez in the starting lineup at shortstop for the second game in a row Saturday night. Hernandez had three hits Friday and made a pair of outstanding defensive plays, probably saving at least three runs.
"He's been playing really well," Porter said. "You look at the way he played defensively yesterday, the way he played defensively in left field a couple of days ago and he continues to swing the bat well. He's been a great addition to our ballclub."
The Major League staff is still trying to get a feel for Hernandez, who wasn't in big league camp. He made his Major League debut Wednesday and had an RBI double in his first at-bat, and then hit a homer Wednesday. He entered Saturday with six hits in 12 at-bats.
Defensively, the 22-year-old Hernandez ran down a ball in center to end the first inning Friday to strand the bases loaded, and he started a terrific double play in the hole to end the fifth. And he showed great arm strength, throwing out a runner from his knees.
"Defensively, I never quit on a ball," he said. "I'm just going to go until someone calls me off, I catch the ball or the ball drops."
Porter admitted Hernandez has been a spark to the Astros, though they've yet to win since he's been up. Hernandez was drafted out of Puerto Rico in the sixth round in 2009.
"He's definitely brought a spark to the team," Porter said. "Again, it's refreshing to see a guy rewarded for just performing at each and every level. He wasn't in big league camp, so it's not like the Major League staff had an opportunity to work with him or know him. He basically knocked the door down and played his way here and is continuing to knock down the door and play his way into the lineup. I like to see stories like that."
All-Star nods in the balance for four Astros
ANAHEIM -- With the All-Star Game roster set to be unveiled Sunday, the Astros have four candidates to make the American League squad: second baseman Jose Altuve, pitcher Dallas Keuchel and outfielders Dexter Fowler and George Springer. It's hard to imagine, though, they would have more than two players.
Altuve should be a lock to make his second All-Star team -- first in the American League -- considering he entered Saturday leading the Major Leagues with 121 hits and the AL with a .342 batting average and a career-high 37 stolen bases.
Alas, Altuve was fourth among AL second baseman in the most recent voting totals, trailing Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier could also be in the All-Star running considering the game is in Minneapolis.
"We have definitely more than one guy who deserves to be in the All-Star Game -- Keuchel, Springer and even Dexter, though he's on the DL," Altuve said. "He's got a good chance to make it. I wish the best to those guys."
Keuchel is 8-5 with a 3.06 ERA and three complete games in 16 starts this year, but hasn't helped his case lately. He's 0-2 with a 6.50 ERA in his last three starts and gave up a career-high 13 hits in five innings in Friday's loss to the Angels.
"I'll be curious to see if Altuve's starting," Keuchel said. "That's really all I want to know about. It would be nice to make it, but whatever happens, happens."
Keuchel says he usually makes travel plans to go home to Oklahoma during the All-Star break, but has postponed those at the urging of manager Bo Porter and the training staff. A trip to Minneapolis could be in the works instead.
"There's a lot of deserving candidates," he said.
Springer has set franchise rookie records for homers (17) and RBIs (46) prior to the All-Star break, while Fowler ranks 11th in the AL with a .377 on-base percentage. He's been on the disabled list since June 27 with a right intercostal strain.
Corporan turns page on verbal exchange with Porter
ANAHEIM -- Astros catcher Carlos Corporan said Saturday he and manager Bo Porter have patched things up after they were involved in a verbal altercation in the dugout in the fourth inning of Friday's loss to the Angels.
Corporan struck out looking in the fourth and argued briefly with plate umpire Angel Hernandez. The catcher appeared to exchange words with Porter at the top of the dugout, and Corporan and threw his helmet into the dugout.
Porter and Corporan continued to argue in the dugout before Jose Altuve stepped in and created some space between the two.
"It's just the heat of the game," Corporan said. "Things happen in baseball. We talked about it, and it's fine. We just turned the page and are trying to win today."
On Friday, Porter declined to elaborate on the incident, which was caught by TV cameras.
"What happens between me and my players during the game will always stay between me and my players," he said.
Corporan said he plays the game with passion by nature.
"I get fired up," he said. "That's just my nature. I like to win and I want to do well for my team. We talked about it in the dugout and now we're straight. Things like that happen."
Porter discusses replay system with Torre
ANAHEIM -- Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations, met with Astros manager Bo Porter on Saturday to talk about any concerns he had about instant replay, which was expanded this year to include more plays and allow managers to challenge calls.
Porter said much of the talk centered on replay technology in the ballparks and whether the Astros were having any issues.
"He's trying to meet with all the managers and bench coaches, just to go over replay and how it's going and everybody's take," Porter said. "We ended up talking about some other baseball stuff, so it was good."
The Astros had been involved in 41 replay reviews entering Saturday, including 16 challenges by Porter. The Astros were successful in nine of their 16 challenges. Porter said he's been pleased with replay so far.
"I think it's gone good," he said. "I said this to Joe, the umpires have relaxed a little bit more. There is a common notion of we have a system in place that allows us to get the right call, and I think it's going well."