Astros slugger Carter looks to build on 2013

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 27, 2014 at 2:18 am •  Published: February 27, 2014
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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Chris Carter's first full season in the majors was filled with ups and downs — and a few fireworks.

He led the Astros with 29 home runs, but his 212 strikeouts were the most in the majors. And while he knows he should limit his strikeouts, he hates it when people paint him as an all-or-nothing player.

"I don't want to be that guy that always strikes out," he said. "I want to be an all-around hitter and hit for average and power."

Carter's 82 RBIs were the most on the team, his 64 runs scored were tied for tops and he was fourth with 113 hits. He had the most home runs since Lance Berkman also had 29 in 2008, but his average was just .223.

The Astros kept him in the lineup every day because of his ability to change games with just one swing of his big bat. He uses one that's 34 ounces, which is two ounces heavier than the standard major league bat, and it's also about an inch longer than most.

He had a number of homers last season that could lead a highlight reel. One came off Chris Sale of the White Sox when Carter lost his grip and basically launched it one-handed about 20 rows into the left-center field stands. Another towering shot came in July against Tampa Bay and led Rays manager Joe Maddon to tweet: "Chris Carter is an impressively strong man." It crashed onto the train tracks atop the wall in left field, causing some fireworks set up for a postgame display to go off prematurely.

"Chris Carter is very valuable to our team," manager Bo Porter said. "He led our team in home runs and RBIs. That tells you the value which he can bring to our ball club. There are things in which I'm pretty sure Chris would tell you himself he's working on to make himself a more complete player and a better all-around player."

Last season was Carter's first with the Astros after an offseason trade from Oakland where he'd been among the A's top prospects.

He split his time almost equally between left field, first base and designated hitter in 2013, but will likely be penciled in more at DH this season.

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