Astros to keep George Springer as leadoff batter, Dusty Baker says

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker said Sunday that he will keep outfielder George Springer as the team's leadoff hitter this season.

"If it's not broke, don't fix it," he told reporters.

Springer has been the Astros' leadoff hitter since 2016, when he was inserted into the spot by former manager A.J. Hinch in May of that season.

Hinch was fired by Astros owner Jim Crane after Major League Baseball suspended the manager for a season as a result of the team's sign-stealing scheme. With Baker taking over this season, it wasn't a given that he would leave Springer atop his lineup until he made the news official Sunday.

Springer has excelled in the leadoff spot, winning two Silver Slugger awards and earning three consecutive All-Star selections. Last season, he set career highs in home runs (39), RBIs (96), batting average (.292) and on-base percentage (.383).

"I told Springer the other day that he reminded me of past leadoff hitters -- Bobby Bonds, Felipe Alou, Tommy Agee," Baker told reporters. "These guys were hitters and sluggers at the same time, and he can either get on base or it's 1-0 our favor. This guy, he's one of the best. You don't win Silver (Sluggers) just by taking (pitches). I love it, actually."