Carter makes first spring start in left field

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros got their first look at Chris Carter in left field Thursday against a Yankees split squad. Carter, acquired from Oakland on Feb. 4, had seen some time at first base this spring, but Houston would ideally like him to be its starting left fielder.

"He's a huge part of our offense, and from a balance standpoint, it would give us more options if he can play left field, and we're going to take a long look at him this spring," manager Bo Porter said.

Carter has been getting work in the outfield with first-base coach Dave Clark, who's confident the 6-foot-4 slugger will be able to handle it.

"If given a chance to play out there, he'll be able to hold his own," Clark said. "It's going to come down to the willingness. With the chance of the roster filling out the way we think it might, he may have to spend some time playing first, left and DHing. He's a pretty good athlete, and any time you get a good athlete, it's not going to that hard of an adjustment."

Carter has played 66 games in the Major Leagues at first base and 22 in left field. In the Minor Leagues, he's played 511 games at first, 83 at third base, 39 in left field, 24 in right field and even one at shortstop, which gives you an idea of the kind of athlete he is.

I'm playing [left field], I want to do the best I can out there instead of being a liability to the team," Carter said.

Clark said playing the outfield during Spring Training is challenging, considering the bright skies, the lack of a backdrop and the wind.

"But if we see him working and taking good routes and doing drop steps and making good turns, that lets me [assess him] a lot," Clark said. "It looks like he has good hands, too. He'll be fine."