ARLINGTON -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve told reporters last month one of his goals for 2014 was to play in 162 games for the first time this year, and manager Bo Porter said Saturday he's on board with that as long as Altuve is healthy.
Altuve, 23, played in a career-high 152 games last year, missing a few days with a strained quadriceps muscle and four games last May while on the bereavement list following the death of his grandmother. He has started the Astros' first 12 games this season.
"Altuve's done a great job getting his body in shape," Porter said. "He is really locked into his profession and being ready to play each and every day, and I don't see any reason why he wouldn't play every day unless something physically was to happen. Him being one of the better players on our team, every day he's out there, I feel a whole lot better about winning."
No Astros player has appeared in all 162 games in a season since Carlos Lee in 2007. Prior to Lee, the previous Astros player to play in every game was Jeff Bagwell, who did it in 1992, 1996, 1997 and 1999. Craig Biggio also played in 162 games in 1992, 1996 and 1997.
"Given any unforeseen health issues, every day Jose Altuve is in the lineup, we're a better team," Porter said.
Carter waiting on power surge
ARLINGTON -- Through 11 games last season, Astros designated hitter Chris Carter already had four home runs and seven RBIs en route to leading the Astros with 29 homers and 82 RBIs. Carter played in his 11th game of the 2014 season on Saturday and was still searching for his first homer.
"I hit a few balls hard," he said. "There were a few balls at home that hit the wall. I'm not worried about it right now. They'll fall eventually."
The absence of power from Carter hasn't stopped the Astros from ranking second in the American League in home runs entering Saturday with 14, five of which came in one game. Nine different players had homered.
"Let's hope the first one comes today and bunches come right after," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
Carter hit his first four homers a year ago in a four-game span on the road, which was the first in a couple of spurts in which he went deep frequently. The slugger entered Saturday hitting .143 and was trying to shake an 0-for-14 slump.
"I still feel alright," he said. "I'm not pressing or anything right now."
Carter admitted he pressed at times last year.
"Last year, there were times it was rough and I had to really get in the cage and work on things," he said. "Right now, I still feel like everything is going well and it will be OK."
Astros add Clemens to bolster bullpen
ARLINGTON -- The Astros bolstered their bullpen Saturday by adding right-hander Paul Clemens, who was 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two games at Triple-A Oklahoma City. He took the roster spot of starting pitcher Scott Feldman, who was placed on the bereavement list following the death of his father on Wednesday.
Clemens has been working on commanding his curveball and studying video with pitching coach Brent Strom from two years ago, when Clemens pitched well in his Major League debut.
"As long as I command myself and execute my pitches, I'll be fine," he said. "Whatever [role] they put, they're going to put me. It's about winning ballgames."
The Astros plan to use Clemens in long relief. Brad Peacock worked in long relief Friday by throwing 2 2/3 innings, which made him unavailable Saturday.
"I feel like I've got some pretty live stuff, and when I stay within myself and command my stuff, I feel like I can compete with anybody," Clemens said.
Feldman, who can be on the bereavement list for up to seven days, pitched Friday and would be on turn to start again Thursday against the Royals. Manager Bo Porter said it was too early to determine whether Feldman would return in time to make his next start.
"We're not with the family and don't know what's going on," he said. "We'll let him get there and communicate back to us how things are going."