KANSAS CITY -- Last season, at the beginning of Robbie Grossman's second stint with the Astros, former first baseman Carlos Pena fielded questions about the newly promoted and scorching-hot Grossman.
As Houston manager Bo Porter tells it, Pena said of Grossman: "Yeah, this Mike guy is just on fire."
And from there, an alter ego was born. "Mike" represents the guy who exploded for a .322/.351/.466 line in 157 plate appearances post-demotion in 2013. "Robbie" signifies the guy who started that season batting just .198 with a lowly .243 slugging percentage before he was sent to the Minors.
Grossman once again struggled at the start of this season, hitting just .125 in his first 14 games. The slump sent him to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he managed a .299/.373/.453 line in 34 games to earn a promotion Sunday.
"Robbie doesn't even exist anymore," Porter said. "Mike is back.
"We're hoping that the stint that he had down there can do the same thing this year, because we can use that offensive weapon in our lineup. We're excited to have him back."
Porter immediately threw Grossman into action, starting him in left field and slotting him into the seventh-hole against Royals starter Yordano Ventura on Monday.
"I'm excited to play, I'm excited to put on this uniform," Grossman said.
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.