BALTIMORE -- Several members of Astros outfielder George Springer's family made the five-hour drive Friday from their home in Connecticut to Baltimore to watch the rookie play during this weekend's series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Springer's father, George Jr., said he's watched every game his son has played since he was recalled from Triple-A on April 16. He was at his Major League debut in Houston and has since watched subsequent games on television.
Springer hit his first Major League homer on Thursday in Detroit and said he was going to give the ball to his father at some point.
"This has been unbelievable," George Jr. said. "Every day is a miracle. I'm just taking this all in. This is wonderful."
Springer got off to a slow start, but entered Friday with an eight-game hitting streak. His father knew there would be an adjustment period.
"Look, this is hard," he said. "These are Major League pitchers. They're incredible athletes and throw with precision, and he's got some adjustments to do. I think he'll do it in the course of time. I trust over time, he's going to adapt. He's got a lot of support around him, too, from the organization to the players. I'm looking forward to great things for him."
Porter recalls Major League debut 15 years ago
BALTIMORE -- Friday marked the 15th anniversary of Astros manager Bo Porter's Major League debut, which came on May 9, 1999 for the Cubs against the Reds at Cinergy Field. Danny Graves struck him out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.
Porter recalls the day vividly. He said he was in Triple-A with the Cubs, where he was sitting out a rain delay on May 8 of that year. He was hitting in the cage with teammate Derrick White and was ready to go back to his locker when Iowa manager Terry Kennedy told Porter not to go.
"He goes, 'You've been scratched,'" Porter said. "I'm saying, 'Scratched? Time out.' That's when Derrick White was in there and he said, 'I think Lance Johnson just got hurt.' He said, 'Dude, you're going to the big leagues.'"
Sure enough, Kennedy pulled Porter into his office moments later and gave him the news. Porter went back to his apartment in Des Moines and packed up his things to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Cincinnati for an afternoon game.
"You're never tired when you get to the big leagues," Porter said. "I probably had three hours of sleep, but it didn't matter."
Porter played parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues, hitting .214 with two homers and eight RBIs in 89 games with the Cubs, A's and Rangers.
Castro out of lineup with forearm bruise
BALTIMORE -- Astros catcher Jason Castro was held out of the starting lineup Friday against the Orioles as a precaution because he had a bruise on the left forearm after being struck by a bat Wednesday against the Tigers in Detroit.
Castro was struck on a Rajai Davis backswing on a play in which Davis was called out for batter's interference.
"I didn't think it got me pretty good at first, but I guess it did," Castro said.
Davis' bat hit Castro while he was trying to throw out the Tigers' Andrew Romine at second base on an attempted steal. Castro thought nothing of it at the time and stayed in the game, but the arm began to hurt later.
Keeping Castro out of the lineup was made easier considering the Astros were facing a left-handed starting pitcher. Astros manager Bo Porter said Castro would be in the lineup Saturday and Sunday against the Orioles while facing right-handers Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman.
Astros activate Feldman among host of moves
BALTIMORE -- The Astros made a flurry of roster moves Friday, with Scott Feldman getting activated to face the Orioles in the series opener at Camden Yards. Also, left-handed starter Brett Oberholtzer was sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City and right-handed reliever Jose Cisnero was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow discomfort.
The team also recalled right-hander Paul Clemens, who makes his second stint with the club and will pitch out of the bullpen. The right-hander made four appearances with Houston in April and posted a 4.73 ERA over 13 1/3 innings.
"I feel great right now," he said. "I feel good with all my stuff. I have a year of experience under my belt now and know what these hitters like to do and like to look for, and now it's time for me to adjust to them and do what I know I'm capable of doing."
The return of Feldman from the disabled list meant the Astros had to open up a spot in the rotation, which is why Oberholtzer was sent out. The lefty was 0-6 with a 5.68 ERA in seven starts this season.
"It was a tough decision," Porter said. "Last year, you look at the success that he had in the big leagues and early in the year he pitched well and had a couple of rough patches here his last start, but I felt even the last start he competed and had us in position to mount a comeback in the game. You look at the overall situation and how well the other guys had thrown the ball, we felt like it was the right decision to make at the time."
Cisnero has been with the Astros since being recalled from Triple-A on April 25. He made his fifth appearance of the season Tuesday in Detroit, where he injured his elbow.
Former Oriole Hoes returns to Baltimore
BALTIMORE -- The last time he was at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, outfielder L.J. Hoes had his world turned upside down. He was traded to the Astros from the Orioles last July in the middle of a series where the two clubs were playing against each other.
Hoes, who grew up in nearby Bowie, Md., as an Orioles fan, has settled in with the Astros as a platoon starter in left field against left-handers. He left 30 tickets for friends and family on Friday and had 20 on the list for Saturday, along with a suite.
"I'm happy to be here and happy to have all my friends watch me play," Hoes said.
Hoes had just gotten called up by the Orioles when they sent him to the Astros as part of the Bud Norris trade. He was originally in the lineup for the Orioles the day the trade went down, and wound up playing for the Astros that night.
"I received the lineup that had L.J. Hoes in the lineup for Baltimore, and 20 minutes later he's traded to us and he's out of their lineup and he's in our lineup playing against Baltimore," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
Hoes has bonded with teammates Dexter Fowler, George Springer and Chris Carter in Houston, but he maintains a tight relationship with Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who took Hoes under his swing with the Orioles.
"He's like my brother," Hoes said. "This offseason, he took me under his wing. I trained with him all offseason. I just talk to him every day. He says to keep working and that this is a grind and a great opportunity. He's a great person to look up to. He's an All-Star every year and a Gold Glove winner. Just to be able to have someone give you advice is tremendous."
DeShields returns with bang after scary injury
Three weeks to the day after suffering a non-displaced cheekbone fracture when he was hit in the face by a 90-mph fastball, Astros No. 7 prospect Delino DeShields returned to the lineup and homered in his first two plate appearances for Double-A Corpus Christi. It wasn't enough to power the Hooks to a victory, however, as Frisco defeated Corpus Christi, 6-2, Friday night.
DeShields, who is ranked No. 61 on MLB.com's Top 100 prospects list, finished the night 2-for-4. He led off the game with a home run off Rangers No. 11 prospect Alec Asher and added another solo shot against the right-hander in the third inning.
"I was really relaxed," DeShields told MiLB.com. "A lot of people would tell you that after getting hit in the face, they'd be nervous about getting in the box again. Not me. I was like, 'You and me, let's go.'"
DeShields had been out since April 18, when he was hit in the face by a fastball from Frisco right-hander Phil Klein. DeShields avoided any further complications while on the disabled list and remained in good spirits after the incident, soon after tweeting a picture that showed the serious swelling in his face.
To anyone that is concerned as you can see I'm doing fantastic! Blessed to see another day! Always smiling ??ol pic.twitter.com/C5koD0Z5t9- Delino DeShields (@LinoDeShields) April 19, 2014
"Even when I got hurt, I was ready to play two days after I got hit in the face. I was like, 'Let's go.' The swelling was bad, obviously, and obviously [the Astros] wouldn't let me do that," DeShields told MiLB.com. "But I think being so anxious to get back on the field and picturing what it would be like helped me prepare."
In 15 games this season, DeShields is hitting .276 with four home runs and six stolen bases. He is also continuing his transition to center field, which began last year in the Arizona Fall League. He was a second baseman for the first three seasons of his professional career.
Right-hander Matt Albers, who's been on the disabled list since April 22 with right shoulder tendinitis, didn't throw a simulated game Friday as previously scheduled. Porter said he wasn't able to get loose and they didn't want to push him. Albers will continue the throwing program and will be re-evaluated later.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.