Washington Nationals' Ian Stewart follows through with a solo home run in the eighth inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros Friday, March 13, 2015, in Viera, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore
March 13, 2015

VIERA, Fla. (AP) George Springer has been known to get a little hyper in the batter's box.

That's why Houston manager A.J. Hinch was happy to see the young slugger stay in control and hit a pair of solo home runs Friday in the Astros' 6-6 tie with the Washington Nationals.

''I think the results speak for themselves, but I was really proud of the way he was able to control his body in the batter's box and take some things he's been working on into the game,'' Hinch said. ''Get good pitches to hit and take his natural swing, not try to overgenerate power. He doesn't need any help.''

Springer was having a breakout rookie year with 20 home runs last July before a strained left quadriceps muscle ended his season.

Springer homered against Doug Fister leading off the third inning. The next time up, he homered on the first pitch from Sammy Solis. Both shots went to the opposite field.

''It's good to start to slow things down and to put some good swings on a pitch,'' Springer said. ''Today was obviously a step in the right direction.''

Hinch would certainly agree. The Astros are trying to work with Springer on not getting too far ahead of himself at the plate.

''He's a pretty hyper guy,'' Hinch said. ''He's pretty active in the batter's box. A lot of times with him, making sure his feet stay grounded, making sure he's under control and then taking a good pitch and a good swing (are key) and he did that a couple of times today.''

Springer isn't sure where he will slot into Hinch's regular season lineup, but he said it doesn't matter to him whether he's batting first or ninth.

''Wherever he puts me, I'm going to hit,'' Springer said.

Bryce Harper hit a two-run double off Houston starter Scott Feldman and Ryan Zimmerman followed with an RBI single. Fister went 2 1-3 innings, giving up two runs and four hits.

Ian Stewart hit a solo home run for the Nationals. The game was called after nine innings.


Astros: Feldman allowed three runs and four hits in three innings.

''I've been working on trying to be quicker to the plate and trying to work on the changeup,'' he said. ''I think that's kind of what every pitcher says, `Working on the changeup,' but I need to get that pitch going. Hopefully, by the time we break camp I can throw it some more.''

Nationals: Fister went 2 1-3 innings and gave up two runs (one earned) and four hits.

''It wasn't my greatest today but there's a lot of things I can pull from it,'' he said. ''I'm kind of fighting myself, timing-wise. There's a lot of highlights that I can make in the bullpen to really work on.''


Astros: Hinch announced Friday that RHP Mark Appel (forearm tightness) will make his spring debut against big league hitters Monday when an Astros split-squad visits the Nationals.

Nationals: 3B Anthony Rendon has a mild sprain in his left knee. Manager Matt Williams said Rendon would rest for a few days before returning to the lineup. ... After the game, the team announced closer Drew Storen had surgery to remove the hook of hamate bone in his nonpitching, left hand. He is still expected to be ready for opening day.


Astros: Collin McHugh starts vs. Atlanta.

Nationals: On a split-squad day, Gio Gonzalez starts against Miami while Tanner Roark pitches against the New York Mets.

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