OAKLAND -- Astros manager Bo Porter heaped praise Sunday on starting shortstop Jonathan Villar, who has played well on defense this year and is starting to hit. Villar entered Sunday with four hits in his previous seven at-bats and was tied for the team lead in home runs (three) and RBIs (six).
More importantly, Villar has yet to make an error on defense and has largely avoided mental errors on the field and on the bases that plagued him last year.
"I like what I'm seeing," Porter said. "He's attacking the baseball, and I really love the way he's playing defense. [Third-base coach] Pat Listach has done a great job. [Villar] is really honing in and understanding the game really well right now. His attention to detail has gotten better. He's playing with a lot of energy and a lot of passion, and I'm really pleased."
Porter said Villar is taking his work a lot more seriously this season, and he credits second baseman Jose Altuve for helping him in that aspect.
"They have a good relationship," he said. "Altuve's been on him since Spring Training. He's really helped him, watching the way Altuve is going about his business. He's definitely taken the steps we talked about, about being professional and understanding the role you need to work on each and every day. It's pay dividends in his performance."