Back-up catcher Cody Clark may still be looking for his first major league hit, but he’s already made a big impact with the Astros.
The 31-year-old Clark has thrown out four of five base runners attempting to steal since joining the Astros on Aug. 23. On Saturday Clark threw out a the Mariners’ Brad Miller attempting to steal second, and he also threw out a runner attempting to advance to second base on a ball in the dirt.
“He’s done a great job of not only throwing the ball, he’s done a great job of calling the game,” said Astros manager Bo Porter. “You talk to the pitchers that he’s been catching, they’ve raved about his ability to call the game, his ability to block, and he’s definitely thrown the ball well.”
Saturday was Clark’s third major league start. He’s spent time in the organizations of the Rangers (2003-05), Braves (2006), Royals (2007-12) and this year with the Astros. He’s spent the majority of 2013 with Triple A Oklahoma City, throwing out eight base runners in 35 stolen base attempts (22.9 percent).
“I try to be as quick and accurate as possible, and that’s the most important thing,” said Clark. “And the guys (pitchers) are giving me a really good chance to throw guys out. So that’s good.
“I’ve always been known as a defensive guy. Last year I threw out over 40 percent. That was one of my better years. Usually I’m somewhere around 30 (percent) or so, which is fairly high. That’s been my reputation in the minor leagues, a good defensive catch and throw guy.”
Clark is hit-less in 10 major league at-bats, although he’s been robbed twice on hits by shortstops. Miller deprived Clark of a hit on Saturday.
“I’m telling you, what’s with these shortstops? You can’t hit it to the shortstop,” said Clark. “That guy (Miller) had a lot of range and he’s a good player.”
Porter has a solution that may benefit Clark at the plate.
“Yesterday he comes in and asked me after the shortstop goes up the middle,” said Porter. “He goes ‘are all the defenders that good (in the majors)?’(I said) normally they put the best defender at shortstop. You might want to find someplace else to hit it.”