CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Astros manager Bo Porter received a text message early Saturday from Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who joked that he missed him throwing batting practice, which he did the previous two years as Washington's third-base coach.
Porter still plans to continue throwing batting practice as manager with Houston, and he threw it to the first hitting group prior to his Grapefruit League managerial debut on Saturday.
"I love throwing batting practice," he said. "I love hitting fungos. It gives you an opportunity to evaluate. You can find out a lot throwing batting practice to a guy and hitting ground balls. I told our entire staff, 'I will not do anything differently than when I was a coach.' I will have the same responsibilities. I'm in this thing just like they are."
Porter was eager for games to finally get under way, but he said his first game as manager didn't carry any significance for him.
"I think I'm more excited for the players," he said. "They worked extremely hard this offseason, they worked hard in Spring Training and we get a chance to go out and play against an opponent."