Report: Astros to name Bo Porter manager

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Bo Porter has been a popular name on the managing carousel for a few years now, and it was no surprise to learn the Astros would give him serious consideration for their vacancy. According to FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, he’ll be Houston’s next manager.

Porter, who was previously a finalist for jobs in Florida and Pittsburgh, is currently serving as the Nationals’ third base coach.

A 40th-round pick out of the University of Iowa in 1993, Porter fought long and hard to reach the majors in 1999. He never could establish himself there — he ended up hitting .214 with two homers in 126 at-bats over three seasons — but there’s no denying he made the most of his talent. After retiring in 2003, he started coaching in the minors in 2005. He reached the majors as the Marlins’ third-base coach just two years later.

By taking the Houston job now, Porter passed on the possibility that a more attractive opportunity might present itself later. But on the plus side, he won’t face any pressure to win right away. The Astros are bringing in plenty of smart people, but it’s going to be a long time before they’re in any sort of position to contend in the AL West.

Report: Braves extend Kurt Suzuki

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Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.

Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.

It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.

“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”

Mikie Mahtook is likely done for the season

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Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.

This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.

With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.