Porter stresses need for flexibility on bench

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros manager Bo Porter talked roster composition Friday morning, saying he's planning to carry 12 pitchers and 13 position players when the 25-man roster is set. Porter said it's important to have flexibility on the bench.

With that in mind, and taking into the account the club's move to the American League, Porter said he feels it's more important to carry an extra position player than an extra pitcher.

"Eventually you're going to have one or two guys who are not going to be throwing, which is not going to be conducive to keeping them sharp," he said. "At the same time, you have to have flexibility in your everyday roster, because you have nine position players playing every day and you don't want to look over and have a short bench when it comes to matching up late in the game or doing things late in the game that can actually give you an advantage to put yourself in position to win the ballgame."

Porter has said previously he wants to carry two long relievers, and he'll probably have a pair of lefties. That leaves three spots in the bullpen, including closer Jose Veras. The roster doesn't have to be set for another month, so any roster speculation is premature.

"As the spring plays out, you'll start to look at your roster and start to think about balance," he said. "As a manager and as a coaching staff, it's our job to put these players in the best positions to play to their potential. A huge part of being able to do that is having a roster that gives you the flexibility and balance to put guys in position to be successful."