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Barnes' hot start adjusting Astros' plans

Barnes' hot start adjusting Astros' plans

NEW YORK -- Astros manager Bo Porter plans to give outfielder Brandon Barnes more playing time, which is why Barnes was in the starting lineup against the Yankees on Tuesday, playing left field for the first time this season. It was Barnes' 11th start of the year but only his second against a right-hander.

Barnes has been starting in right field against left-handers, and Rick Ankiel has been starting in right against right-handers. Barnes entered Tuesday on a six-game hitting streak during which he had gone 10-for-20, including 3-for-5 in Monday's 9-1 win. He was a career .227 hitter against righties and a .290 hitter against lefties entering Tuesday.

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"Brandon has played outstanding, and I think he deserves some more at-bats," Porter said before Tuesday's game. "He played well again last night, and that's why he's back in the lineup today and we'll continue to see how he takes advantage of the opportunity, but I want to find more opportunities for him."

Barnes is also capable of playing center field and made several terrific catches there last year. When Justin Maxwell went on the disabled with a broken left hand, the team called up Robbie Grossman to start in center.

"Grossman came here, and the plan was to give him an opportunity to see if he can play every day at the Major League level," Porter said, "but Brandon Barnes has done nothing to hurt his chances or [have an] opportunity to eventually be an everyday player. He came into the season with the notion he was only going to play against lefties, and he's coming to the ballpark today and starting against a right-hander. When you play well, from a manager's standpoint, it's my goal to keep the guys that are playing well in the lineup."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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