KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros had to alter their schedule Saturday because of early-morning rain showers, with the pitchers throwing live batting practice first to make sure they got their work in before more rain fell. Position players took batting practice and then worked in a large group focusing on defensive drills.
"We had some weather early on, so we wanted to make sure our pitchers that were scheduled to throw live, we wanted to keep them on schedule," manager Bo Porter said. "We were able to get that in, and it turned into a defensive day from that point on."
Porter said the defense needs improvement, which meant the players weren't able to give each other the post-workout "Astros win!" handshake.
"We didn't execute, and that's why we actually [turned it] into a day of execution from the defensive side of it," Porter said. "We all understand the game of baseball. It's about runs being scored, and I'm a firm believer that the best offense is a good defense. We have to defend the baseball."
That's more than about just making the throws or fielding cleanly, Porter said.
"We've explained this to our guys, from a defensive standpoint it's not just the physical aspect of making the plays," Porter said. "There are a lot of mental things that go into positioning, situations, understanding what to do, what not to do, given the situation. We're going to put our guys in as many of those situations as possible throughout the course of the spring to try to emphasize the importance of these decisions based on situations."
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.