Astros keeping Gattis away from behind the plate

With Houston set at catcher, slugger focusing spring work on outfield, first base

Astros keeping Gattis away from behind the plate

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Evan Gattis has been sitting in on catchers meetings this spring, but don't expect to see the new Astros slugger behind the plate this season.

Gattis, acquired in a trade with the Braves on Jan. 14, has been working out exclusively in left field this spring, though he could wind up getting some reps at first base later. Gattis has ordered a first baseman's glove in preparation.

Outlook: Gattis, C, HOU

"I'm not sure he's going to catch at all this spring," manager A.J. Hinch said. "A lot of it is going to depend on the rest of our team. He's a viable catcher. I want everybody to know he's not being held away from the catching position because he can't do it."

The Astros are set at catcher with Jason Castro and Hank Conger. Gattis has been primarily a catcher in his career, with four appearances at first base and 48 in left field, though none since 2013. That's why he's working hard to get as many reps in the outfield as he can this spring.

"I always thought the outfielders didn't really do much in the spring, but they're kicking my butt out there, which is really good for me," Gattis said.

Hinch called it "all hands on deck" in left field, as the Astros try to find a spot for Colby Rasmus, Chris Carter, Jake Marisnick, Robbie Grossman, Alex Presley and L.J. Hoes. Gattis could wind up seeing more time at first if Jon Singleton doesn't make the club.

"There's a lot of moving parts," Hinch said.

Gattis' only goal is to remain healthy enough to play a full season. He was limited to 105 games in 2013 and 108 games last year with the Braves because of injuries. Being out from behind the plate should help in that regard.

"That's the prize, that's where my eyes are, that's what I want," Gattis said. "I want to go through a full season healthy and hopefully into the postseason."

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.