MINNEAPOLIS -- Astros manager Bo Porter said outfielder/designated hitter Chris Carter has been putting in extra work in the cage with hitting coach John Mallee in recent days in an effort to try to break out of his slump. Carter was 3-for-38 (.079) entering Sunday's game against the Twins.
"He's started to get out of his legs a little bit, and it's something Mallee and I have talked about," Porter said. "I know they spent time the last couple of days down in the cage. I thought he swung the bat really well [Saturday]. He didn't have any hits to show for it, but he barreled some balls up.
"The work him and Mallee are putting in, in the cage, getting him back into his legs, that will get him back on track. It's time for the streak to go the other way."
And when Carter gets hot, he is as dangerous as it gets. He leads the club with 19 home runs and 46 runs scored, and he is second on the team behind Matt Dominguez with 51 RBIs. He has set career highs in nearly every offensive category this year.
"When he's hot, he can carry us," Porter said.
Grossman hits his way back into leadoff spot
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Astros moved rookie outfielder Robbie Grossman back to the leadoff spot for Sunday's series finale against the Twins, and he did not skip a beat by going 2-for-5 to stretch his hitting streak to seven games.
Grossman, who had been hitting primarily at the bottom of the order in the past week, is batting .480 (12-for-25) during his streak and has reached base safely in 16 consecutive games, during which he is hitting .311.
"I think it more has to do with the way Grossman has been swinging the bat," manager Bo Porter said on moving Grossman to the top before Sunday's game. "Once you go through the lineup once, it's almost like [Jonathan] Villar, Grossman and [Jose] Altuve are hitting 1-2-3."
Grossman spent about a month with the Astros earlier this year and struggled, hitting .198 in 111 at-bats in that span while batting mostly leadoff. Entering Sunday, Grossman was hitting .204 in the leadoff spot and .381 in the ninth spot.
"I think he went back down [to the Minors] and came up with a little bit better idea of what it takes to be successful here, and we're seeing the results of a guy playing with confidence," Porter said.
"Your first stint when you come up, you're trying to figure out what to expect, how the league is going to pitch you, how are they going to try to get you out. He had a chance to step back and think about it and make adjustments, and he's made some really good adjustments, and that's why he's having the success he's having."
Porter in touch with Hall of Famer Parcells
MINNEAPOLIS -- Astros manager Bo Porter exchanged a few text messages the last few days with close friend and two-time Super Bowl-winning football coach Bill Parcells, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in Canton, Ohio.
"I'm pretty sure his phone was blowing up messages," Porter said. "We did exchange some text messages. It's a great honor, and it couldn't have happened to a better man. You look at not just the success he's had from a coaching standpoint, but the impact he's been able to have on the number of people in which he's been able to touch, which is a true testament to what it is he means to the sports world in general, not just football."
Porter, a former football player at the University of Iowa, and Parcells struck up a friendship a few years ago in Jupiter, Fla., when Parcells would visit former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, a friend. The Cardinals and Marlins share a spring facility, and Porter soon befriended him, too.
While he did not have a chance to see Parcells' acceptance speech in its entirety, Porter plans to find some time to watch it soon.
Porter spent some time with Parcells prior to Spring Training and has an inspirational quote from the football coach inside the clubhouse at Minute Maid Park.
"Throughout the course of the year, I'll wake up at 7 o'clock in the morning, and there will be a text message from him with inspiration, motivation saying, 'Keep your head up. It's going to be all right, and you're doing the right thing' kind of stuff," Porter said.