HOUSTON -- Astros manager Bo Porter has been going with Carlos Pena at designated hitter and Chris Carter at first base in recent weeks when both have been in the starting lineup, despite the fact Pena is a superior defensive first baseman.
When asked about his motives on Wednesday, Porter said he likes to have Carter at first so he has the option of moving him to the outfield later if the game if needed without losing the DH. Carter can play the outfield, and Pena is limited to first base.
"It gives you flexibility of Carter going to the outfield late in the game if he had to," he said.
Wednesday marked the seventh consecutive game that utilized a a designated hitter that both players were in the lineup in that arrangement. Carter started 16 games in left field early the season, but has been getting most of his at-bats at first and DH lately.
Paredes starts at third for ailing Dominguez
HOUSTON -- With starter Matt Dominguez nursing a sore left quadriceps muscle, Jimmy Paredes was in the lineup at third base in Wednesday's series finale against the Royals. It's the first time this season he's played third in the Major Leagues after starting 11 of the previous 14 games in right field.
Paredes played 20 games at third base, nine in right field and two at designed hitter for Triple-A Oklahoma City before being recalled.
"I played third in Triple-A a lot of games this year, but they sent me down and said, 'You go to Oklahoma City and you are starting to play third again,' so I played a lot of games at third base," Paredes said. "I like being in the lineup, and when I see my name in the lineup, it makes me feel good because they want to see me there."
Paredes, who hit a three-run homer Tuesday, made 44 starts at third base when he made his Major League debut in 2011 and was moved to second base in 2012 and eventually to the outfield. Paredes remains raw on defense, but manager Bo Porter is confident in his abilities.
"During Spring Training, he took ground balls and did infield stuff during Spring Training and played third base and right field in Oklahoma City," he said. "He came up as an infielder, and it's something we're completely familiar with."
Dominguez went 4-for-8 in the first two games in the Royals series after a 1-for-22 road trip. He injured his quad about two weeks ago while in the batting cage and has been getting treatment, but it shouldn't keep him out long term.
"I'd like to play, but they talked to me, and it's better to take the two days off now [Astros are off Thursday] than risk missing weeks for something that could be treated pretty easily," he said.
Norris doesn't expect to miss start with back spasm
HOUSTON -- Astros right-hander Bud Norris said Wednesday he doesn't expect to miss his next start after he exited his second straight outing Tuesday with lower back spasms.
"I hope not," Norris said about missing a start. "I really don't want to. I think the prevention process of taking care of it now and getting me out of the game will help."
Norris received massage treatment Wednesday with Houston's training staff and said that team trainers are "monitoring the old back" closely.
Norris had shut down the Royals through six innings, allowing five hits and no runs before coming back out for his seventh-inning warm-ups.
But a long Astros turn at the plate in the bottom of the sixth left him tight, and Astros manager Bo Porter noticed that Norris wasn't finishing his warmups.
"If you let Bud tell it, he probably could have went on, but I made the decision immediately when he said it was tight," Porter said. "I'm more concerned with us getting these things right so it doesn't linger."
Norris, 28, said he has never dealt with back issues before, so the injury is "completely new territory" for him.
"It's just making sure you're stretched and loose so that your body isn't cold when you get out there so you don't pull something," he said. "I don't think that was the case [Tuesday]."
Norris' strong outing prior to re-aggravating the injury -- which also took him out of his May 14 start in Detroit -- put his ERA at 1.93 in six home starts this season.
His next start would likely be scheduled for Monday at home against the Rockies.
Dominguez reunites with Royals' Moustakas
HOUSTON -- Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez and his Royals counterpart, Mike Moustakas, share more than just a position.
The pair grew up together just north of Los Angeles and played on the same team at Chatsworth High School from 2004-07.
"We played on the same team since we were seven years old through high school," Dominguez said. "We're still good friends and keep in touch. I'll be a groomsman in his wedding this offseason."
Both were drafted in the first round of the 2007 Draft, with Moustakas going second to the Royals and the Marlins nabbing Dominguez with the 12th pick.
They are one of six pairs of high school teammates to be drafted in the first round of the same draft.
The duo led Chatsworth to a 124-11 record, four league titles and two city championships during their four seasons at the school. Moustakas' 52 career home runs remain a California prep record.
But, according to Moustakas, Dominguez always flashed the superior glove.
"I knew he was going to be a Major League player since he was a freshman [in high school]," Moustakas said. "When his stick comes around, he's going to be awesome."
Dominguez's bat has indeed come around lately. He had four home runs in nine games before a quad injury limited him in Tuesday's game. The quad issue also kept him out of tonight's series finale.
Moustakas broke out of his own 0-for-18 slump Tuesday with a game-tying RBI single in the seventh inning as the Royals eventually won 7-3.
Dominguez said the two friends went out briefly after the game and caught up.
"It's good to see him and share this moment together, playing against each other in the big leagues," Dominguez said. "It was a tough loss for us, but he was struggling and you always like to see your friends do well. It's bittersweet."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.