HOUSTON -- One of the first things Astros manager Bo Porter told Cody Clark upon his arrival at Minute Maid Park on Friday afternoon was to not get hurt. The Astros placed two catchers on the seven-day concussion disabled list this week, giving Clark the opportunity of a lifetime.
Clark, 31, made his Major League debut on Friday night after 11 seasons in the Minor Leagues with the Rangers, Braves, Royals and Astros. He struck out swinging on three pitches in the eighth inning of a 12-4 win against the Blue Jays and caught the ninth in his first big league action.
"It's one of those things that makes you feel good as an organization, to make you be able to reward a guy who has been in baseball for the amount of time he has been in baseball," Porter said. "You can see the excitement in his teammates' eyes when I told him he was going to hit for [Jason] Castro and catch the ninth inning. I'm pretty sure it will be special for him and his family for the rest of his life."
For outfielder Robbie Grossman, who played with Clark at Triple-A Oklahoma City, it was the best moment of the night.
"I don't think it gets better than that," he said. "You're in awe it's happening because you're so happy for him."
Clark, who signed with the Astros prior to this year, spent the majority of the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City (44 games), where he hit .217, but was recently shipped to Double-A Corpus Christi, where he appeared in two games.
"It's a dream come true, really," said Clark, who's one of the oldest players on the team. "Eleven years in the Minor Leagues, and to get the call [Thursday] and be told I was going up, there was a lot of emotion and just calling my wife and parents. It just meant so much for me to be able to tell them."
Clark was called in Corpus Christi manager Keith Bodie's office Thursday night and asked how many managers he had played for in his career. Bodie then told him he was privileged to be the first to tell him he's going to the big leagues.
"I broke down and said, 'Thank you,'" Clark said.
Clark called his wife, Jordan, and parents, Doug and Carol, in Conway, Ark., and they were able to drive to Minute Maid Park on Friday. They were there to support him during the many, many times he thought about giving up his dream of playing in the Majors.
"Everyone keeps tell me to soak it all in," Clark said. "I want to play ball, and it didn't matter to me if it was in the big leagues or not. I just want to play. If I'm playing, I want to be at the highest level I can be at, and this is a dream come true."
Corporan, Stassi taking time in concussion recoveries
HOUSTON -- Astros catchers Carlos Corporan and Max Stassi, both of whom were recently placed on the seven-day disabled list for concussions, are at different points in recovery. Corporan said Friday he's at about "50 percent," while Stassi is still trying to get his legs under him.
Corporan suffered a concussion when he was struck in the mask by a foul ball Monday and is improving. He undergoes daily baseline tests, but is still feeling the lingering effects of nausea, dizziness and headaches.
"I saw the doctor, and he said the symptoms I have are just normal," Corporan said. "I need to be 100 percent just in case I get hit again because of the position I play. You can get hit any time. [The doctor] said I'm going to take it very slow, and we'll see what happens."
Stassi, who was called up to take Corporan's place, was injured in his second Major League game Wednesday, when he was struck in the shoulder and face by a fastball while batting. The only visible sign of the injury Stassi showed Friday was a busted lip, but he was still feeling it enough that he wasn't quite ready to talk to the media.
"I talked to both of them and they're doing well," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "They're going to have some headaches. Like I told both of them, 'The best thing you can do right now is just be honest with the doctors, be honest with the trainers, and tell them exactly how you're feeling and let the process take care of itself.'"
Corporan said he's going to make sure he's 100 percent healthy before playing again. He said he wanted to stay in the game Monday in Arlington because the symptoms weren't too bad, but admitted getting off the field was the right thing to do.
"It will take me a few more days," he said. "I've been hit so many times and this is the first time I felt like this. I've been hit many times behind the plate and didn't have any symptoms. Even when they took me off, I felt nauseous, but nothing like I feel right now. It's scary. I'm glad they made that decision to take me out of the game. For me, I wanted to keep playing, so it could have been worse."