HOUSTON -- The Astros, on Friday, paid tribute to Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier 65 years ago. The team was on the road during Jackie Robinson Day, which was celebrated around baseball earlier this week.
Hall of Fame player Monte Irvin, 93, was introduced to the Minute Maid Park crowd prior to Friday's game after participating in a ceremony with Astros players Wesley Wright and Justin Maxwell, coaches Dave Clark and Bobby Meacham and former Astros star Jimmy Wynn.
Irvin, who was a close friend of Robinson, is pleased baseball still honors Robinson's legacy.
"Not only did he make it easier for players to play baseball, but for all the other sports as well," Irvin said. "We salute him, we knew what he went through and we'll always remember him as a great pioneer."
Irvin played with the New York Giants at the same time Robinson starred with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
"On the field we'd try to knock each other's brains out, but after the game we'd go somewhere and have a beer," he said. "He was a wonderful fella."
Maxwell is appreciative of the trail blazed by men like Robinson.
"We're all fortunate enough to play this game of baseball for a living and I pretty much thank him every day for what he went though," he said. "All we have to focus on is baseball. He had to focus not only on baseball, but protecting himself and all the distractions off the field. Hats off to him."
Postolos details future television deal for Astros
HOUSTON -- Astros president and CEO George Postolos said Friday the club is aware of the fans' frustrations of not being able to see games that are not televised in Houston and markets in San Antonio and Austin this year.
He said the Astros would like to get as many games televised as possible this year on FS Houston, while knowing it will be able to televise all games on the regional sports network the Astros will share next year with the NBA's Houston Rockets.
"Everybody wants to see their team go up against the best and the high-profile young opponents," Postolos said. "So if you're looking at it from a fan perspective, [not televising] games is difficult to understand. We certainly want to do everything we can to encourage our broadcast partner for the season to program their network to appease Astros fans."
This launch of Comcast SportsNet Houston this fall will not only bring the Astros increased revenue, but it will give them the kind of exposure large market teams like the Yankees (YES Network) Red Sox (NESN) and the Cubs and White Sox (Comcast SportsNet Chicago) experience with their own networks.
"The Astros and Rockets will get their turn with Comcast SportsNet Houston," Postolos said.
Altuve bats second with Lowrie in lineup
HOUSTON -- Friday marked the first time this season that second baseman Jose Altuve batted second in the lineup while shortstop Jed Lowrie was also in the lineup. Altuve hit in the No. 2 spot the first six games of the year before Lowrie was activated from the disabled list and took over that position, with Altuve hitting eighth.
Altuve hit .333 (9-for-27) on the Astros' road trip to Miami and Washington and had reached base safely in 10 of the first 12 games in which he had played.
"I think the way he's swinging the bat real well and with Jed's switch-hitting ability in the middle of the order, I think will help us out as well," manager Brad Mills said. "We might as well take advantage of Altuve swinging the bat well and move the other guy down and get some help there as well."
Mills said he toyed with the idea of hitting Altuve leadoff, but went with Justin Maxwell, who got the start in center field. Regular starting center fielder Jordan Schafer is still nursing a cold, but should return to the lineup in time to face Clayton Kershaw on Saturday.