HOUSTON -- Astros manager Bo Porter pulled starting shortstop Jonathan Villar in the third inning of Tuesday's 9-6 loss in 12 innings to the Twins for what the skipper described as an ill-advised baserunning gaffe with his team trailing, 4-1.
Villar led off the third with a single to left field, but he was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a double. Marwin Gonzalez played the rest of the game at shortstop while Villar, the team's 10th-ranked prospect, watched the final nine innings from the bench.
"I learned this a long time ago from Sandy Alomar," Porter said. "He told me the scoreboard is the most important object on the baseball field. I explained this to Jonathan after the game."
What did Porter tell Villar exactly: "'I would never want to take your aggression away from you. It's part of what makes you a special player. But at the same time you have to be aware of the situation that's going on and what's the score.' We have a starting pitcher out there who has basically labored for three innings, we're down, 4-1, and get the leadoff man on and that's not a time to take that kind of a chance."
Earlier this season, Porter benched outfielder J.D. Martinez for swinging at a pitch in a situation in which the hitters had been instructed not to swing. Porter said Tuesday pulling Villar was a "no-brainer."
"As the umpire was calling him out at second base, I was telling Gonzo to get ready to go to shortstop," Porter said. "I believe that Jonathan will receive the message properly, because him and I talked about it. I think it will help him moving forward. He's young, he's aggressive and I told him, 'Your aggression is what allows you to be an impact player. But at the same time, that scoreboard is the most important object on this field and you have to understand there are times when the scoreboard will dictate to you exactly how aggressive you should be.'"
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.