Porter believes Springer matches up with Hunter

Houston manager thinks Detroit's veteran outfielder is perfect mentor for his player

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Astros prospect George Springer had a chance to spend a few moments on Monday talking with Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter, whom Springer grew up idolizing. The meeting was arranged by Astros manager Bo Porter, who considers Hunter one of his closest friends in baseball.

Porter has said several times this spring that Springer's game -- speed, power, high energy -- is reminiscent of Hunter, a former All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, and he thought it would be a good idea for Springer to latch onto him as a possible mentor.

"I told George, 'When you are a young Major League player, you want to kind of find someone that possesses the same skill set you possess, has played a high level and you want pick that person's brain,'" Porter said. "That's why I put him in touch with Torii Hunter. They're going to exchange numbers, and he's a great mentor for George to latch onto that would really help him as he progresses in his Major League career."

Springer grew up in Connecticut and actually met Hunter while he was playing at Double-A New Britain in the Twins' organization from 1997-98. He told his father he liked the way Hunter played the game, diving for balls and running into the wall to make a play if he had to.

"He's always been the guy who I look up to ever since," he said. "It's going to be a great honor to see him play again in person. I see the highlights of him all the time and he's obviously a fantastic player. He plays the game the right way."

Springer said being compared to Hunter is an honor.

"It's something special to me as a kid, especially as a player, for Bo to compare you to anybody," he said. "I'm obviously extremely thankful what Bo's done for me. He's given me an opportunity, and I'm going to go out and play and have fun."