Porter says he's discussed shifts with Harrell

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DETROIT (AP) - Houston manager Bo Porter wanted to make a couple main points in a pregame meeting with right-hander Lucas Harrell.

1. If a player has a concern, he can discuss it with the manager face to face.

2. There's a reason the Astros position their defenders the way they do.

Porter said Wednesday he discussed Houston's defensive shifts with Harrell after the pitcher publically expressed frustration with a couple balls that weren't caught in Tuesday night's game .

"Listen, if you have something to say, and you want to voice your opinion, I have a complete open-door policy,"' Porter recalled saying. "I didn't hear about Lucas' comments until I got to the ballpark."

The Astros lost 6-2 to the Tigers on Tuesday, and Harrell said he had hoped a go-ahead double by Andy Dirks might have been caught.

"We're trying some new things with our defense, and I thought they worked against me tonight," Harrell said after the game. "The ball that Dirks hit was up there forever, and I thought someone might have caught that one. He hit it hard, and that's my fault, but I was hoping someone would get there."

Dirks' ball was hit to one of the deepest parts of Comerica Park and bounced over the wall in right-center, but Harrell's comments raised more questions about whether defensive shifts are helping Houston's defense at all.

Through Tuesday, Houston pitchers were allowing a .323 average on balls in play. That mark is the highest in the major leagues and suggests the Astros may not be covering enough ground defensively.

But the Astros also had turned a major league-high 54 double plays entering Wednesday's series finale at Detroit.

"I know for sure that if we're just playing traditional defense where everybody believes the defenders should play, we wouldn't be in the top, as far as the league goes, in double plays," Porter said. "You have to be able to take the good that comes with it, and you have to take, sometimes, the bad that comes with it."

Harrell said Wednesday he's ready to move on after meeting with Porter.

"I know where he's coming from. We just had a sit-down, a talk, and we worked everything out," Harrell said. "We both heard each other out and we talked about it and we put it behind us."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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