To rest Springer's sore knee, slugger in DH role

Carter makes rare start in left field; Hernandez gets nod in center

To rest Springer's sore knee, slugger in DH role

HOUSTON -- Astros manager Bo Porter used the final game before the All-Star break to give the sore right knee of center fielder George Springer a rest, though he wanted to keep his bat in the lineup. Springer started at designated hitter Sunday for the first time.

Porter said Springer's knee, which kept him out of the lineup Friday, was a little sore. Super utility rookie Enrique Hernandez made his first career start in center field after starting in left field, shortstop and DH since he was called up.

"To me, the outfield is the outfield and you have to cover a little bit more ground and that's it," Hernandez said of center.

With Springer at DH and Hernandez in center, Chris Carter made a rare start in left and Robbie Grossman moved over to right. It was all done with Springer in mind.

"George is a little sore and obviously it hurts him a little bit more to play defense and run around than it does to hit," Porter said. "We can monitor it a little better with him at DH. It's about trying to get our best nine guys in the lineup. It's not like Chris Carter hasn't played the outfield before. He's played the outfield, and Kiké is just a baseball player. He can play everywhere."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for 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.