Astros vs. Yankees: Jeter Retirement Extravaganza game preview

Bob Levey

Jeter gets feted, Porter changes the lineup, life is good

Tonight is the night that the Derek Jeter retirement party comes to Houston. Not that it will make that much difference, as Cap'n doesn't talk before games. But, it should be a nice ceremony, with both Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte on hand.

Before the game, Bo Porter talked about asking Jeter for advice on leadership back in 2006 or 2007. He said Jeter talked to him about leading by example and how that showed up in Jeter's play on the field. The Astros will present Jetes with boots and golf clubs before the game. Fun times!

And that's it for the Derek Jeter Retirement Tour part of our program. I will note, quickly, that it doesn't appear the Astros have been reprimanded by the league for viciously striking Jetes in the hand in the opener. But, as always, action could be pending.

One interesting comment Porter made before the game was about his lineup construction. He called Castro and Altuve his "best two hitters," and said that switching them was more about getting the guy with the platoon advantage extra at-bats in a particular game. It's as simple an explanation as you can get, but it makes sense. Who do you want getting the majority of the at-bats, a strikeout monster like Trogdor or a guy you think is one of the "best hitters on the team?"

Only other update from Porter was that Houston's video team puts together a reel for him every day on the previous day's replay challenges and plays. That way, he can review which decisions were made, what the decisions turned out to be and get a feel for what's going on. He firmly agreed with replay, too, which fits with his spring comments on it.

After the meeting, Porter started stretching out to throw batting practice. While he did this, Houston held infield practice for the second straight game. They rarely did it last year, but it's a cool feature. If they did it when fans are in the park, Matt Dominguez and Jonathan Villar could dazzle. Interestingly, Marwin Gonzalez was working out at second, not at short. Marc Krauss was also at first with Jesus Guzman and Chris Carter.

In batting practice, not a lot stood out, but that's mainly because I try not to draw any conclusions from BP before a game. Down that road lives bad assumptions. But, I could watch Chris Carter hit baseballs on a loop all game long. The roof was open for BP and he put multiple balls up on the railroad tracks or beyond.

The guy that always sneaks up on me at BP, though, is Carlos Corporan. Dude has legitimate power, more than you'd expect. Ditto Robbie Grossman, who didn't show home run power, but roped line drives all over the field and who put many a ball right up against the fence.

Last thing I'll leave you with is a few photos I took from the park. This was before the mist descended and forced the roof to close.

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