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Castro hopes to improve by batting second

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ANAHEIM -- When rookie outfielder George Springer was put in the No. 2 spot in the batting order behind Jose Altuve, he began to shine offensively. Astros manager Bo Porter is hoping the same thing will be true for catcher Jason Castro, who entered Thursday in a 15-for-85 (.176) funk.

Castro had only 14 plate appearances in the No. 2 spot in the order prior to Thursday, but he wasn't hitting behind Altuve. The dynamo second baseman leads the Major Leagues in hits and leads the American League in stolen bases.

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Porter hopes Castro, a left-handed hitter, will not only come to bat with a huge hole on the right side of the infield with Altuve on first, but he's a threat to steal so Castro should see more fastballs.

"I'm just trying to get him going," Porter said. "Hitting behind Jose Altuve seemed to be a good spot for anybody who's hit in that spot. [Castro], being one of our better hitters the entire last year, and if you look at the offensive woes in which we had, we felt like if we can get him going it will really helps us."

Castro buys into the notion of pitchers throwing more fastballs with a speedy runner at first, helping the defensive team's chances of throwing him out on the bases.

"It's definitely on a catcher's mind," he said. "It definitely plays into the decision-making a little bit when it's a situation where you really need to keep that guy at first and you want to keep him out of scoring position. You'll definitely think about what to throw."

Springer hit primarily second from May 13 until June 1, batting .357 in that span.

"When you get to hit behind [Altuve] and in front of Springer, it's definitely a good spot in the lineup," Castro said. "I'll definitely take advantage of the opportunity."

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

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