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Cooper calls team's attention to defense

Cooper calls team's attention to defense

ARLINGTON -- Astros manager Cecil Cooper held a meeting with his position players on Saturday after the clubhouse closed to the media.

The issue was Houston's suddenly sloppy defense. After ranking among the top three in the game in fielding percentage most of the first six weeks of the season, the Astros have dropped to 15th with a .984 fielding percentage entering Sunday's game.

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The Astros have committed 27 errors, a figure surpassed by just a dozen teams. They have allowed 11 unearned runs in their last five games.

So Cooper decided it was time to have a chat with his position players.

"We had a little meeting yesterday just to kind of reiterate that we had gotten a little lax on routine plays," Cooper said. "Just about a little better focus, making plays and routine stuff as opposed to being a superman and trying to make highlight plays. Yesterday was the first day on the road trip we didn't make an error and made all of the plays."

Cooper noted that even when the team was struggling the first few weeks of the season, the one constant was outstanding defense.

"All of a sudden, we got away from that, [and] I just wanted to call their attention to it," Cooper said. "[The errors] became a concern. I was going to wait until we got home, but [thought], 'Let's do it today.' It wasn't throwing the blame on anybody or pointing anybody out; it was just that as a group we need to focus. We kind of got away from that on this road trip."

Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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