LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Rangers manager Ron Washington has made it no secret that he's a big fan of Astros manager Bo Porter, who lost 111 games in his first season as manager in Houston's first year in the American League West.
Of course, Washington's Rangers were responsible for many of those losses, going 17-2 against their Lone Star State rivals last season in their first year as division foes.
"Bo has one of the toughest jobs in the game," Porter said. "I thought he handled it extremely well. He kept a smile on his face. He stayed positive. He showed up every day and tried to make them believe. That is what you're supposed to do as a manager."
Porter was a player when Washington was a coach with Oakland in 2000, and Porter leaned on Washington for advice while interviewing for managerial jobs.
Ryan headlines South Texas Winter Baseball Banquet
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan will be the headline guest at the South Texas Winter Baseball Banquet and Astros Caravan Luncheon on Jan. 29 at the Solomon P. Ortiz Center in Corpus Christi, Texas -- site of the Astros' Double-A affiliate.
"Getting Nolan here for the 10th banquet was a huge priority for us," said Hooks president Ken Schrom. "We are delighted and excited to have him on the program. I can't think of a better way to herald our celebration of the 10th season of Hooks baseball."
Baseball's all-time strikeout (5,714) and no-hit (seven) king, Ryan is a principal owner of Ryan-Sanders Baseball. Ryan-Sanders Baseball owns the Triple-A Round Rock Express, Ryan-Sanders Entertainment and Ryan-Sanders Sports Services. On Oct. 1, Ryan-Sanders Baseball sold the Hooks to the Astros.
Ryan spent the past six seasons as president and CEO of the Texas Rangers before stepping down on Oct. 31. Nolan's oldest son, Reid, founded the Express (2000) and Hooks (2005) and is now president of business operations for the Astros.
Tickets are on sale at the Whataburger Field box office. To order by phone, call 361-561-HOOK (4665).
• Right-hander Alex White, who underwent Tommy John surgery last spring, is throwing off the mound at the Astros' Spring Training complex in Kissimmee, Fla., and should report to spring camp healthy and competing for a job.
• The Astros announced Monday that outfielder Eric Thames has been released and will sign with a team in the Korean Baseball Organization. Thames, 27, had been on Houston's 40-man roster after being claimed off waivers from Baltimore on Sept. 3.