Chris Carter is scheduled to make his starting left field debut Thursday against a split-squad Yankees club. The Astros host New York at 12:05 p.m. in a Grapefruit League game at Osceola County Stadium. Carter’s primarily a first baseman. He’s recently put in extra outfield work, training with coaches Dave Clark and Vince Coleman. Carter’s focused on improving his footwork, fielding ground balls and reading the ball after it comes off the bat. “It feels good so far,” Carter said. “But shagging balls in (batting practice) is different from a game.” When it was pointed out Carter was debuting against the storied Yankees, the 26-year-old smiled. “Fun times, right?” he said. Astros manager Bo Porter continued to hint left field is Carter’s spot to lose. With Brett Wallace at first base and Carlos Pena at designated hitter, the Astros want to find a way to work in Carter’s strong bat. Asked about potentially sacrificing defense for offense to get Carter — who hit 16 home runs and 39 RBIs last season in just 219 at-bats for Oakland — in the everyday lineup, Porter said one of his main baseball philosophies is offense early, defense late. “If you don’t score early, you’re not defending the lead,” Porter said. “He’s a huge part of our offense. And from a balance standpoint, it will give us more options if he’s able to play left field and that’s why we’re going to take a long look at it this spring.” Right-hander Lucas Harrell will make his second spring training start for the Astros, while prospect Jonathan Villar will play shortstop.
Astros’ Carter makes left field debut vs. Yankees; Porter wants early offense
Houston Chronicle | Feb 28