PORT ST. LUCIE Ken Griffey Jersey , Fla. (AP) — Michael Brantley likened joining the Houston Astros to going to a new high school.Those first day butterflies quickly dissipated, and the outfielder is fitting in famously with his new teammates. He has already moved into a leadership role on this veteran team.“One of the best things about this locker room is when I came in, everybody was willing to help and make me feel comfortable and talk,” he said. “You come in every morning, you look around and everybody’s smiling and playing cards http://www.marinersfanproshop.com/authentic-edgar-martinez-jersey , and it’s just a great atmosphere all-around that they created.”The free agent outfielder signed a $32 million, two-year contract with Houston in December after spending his first 10 seasons with the Indians.Manager AJ Hinch has admired Brantley and is just as impressed after seeing him up close for the past couple of weeks.“He fits in perfectly,” Hinch said. “He could walk in all 30 clubhouses and immediately garner the respect that he deserves. He’s very professional. He’s very consistent.”Houston wasn’t lacking in veteran leadership with a team which includes Jose Altuve, George Springer, Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel. Brantley has still managed to make a mark.“He’s quickly become a very important person in our clubhouse,” Hinch said. “He’s someone I know our position players will look up to or will look to when it comes to maintaining the balance that it takes to be a position player for us.”The career .295 hitter gives the Astros an upgrade to an outfield anchored by Springer and adds a left-handed bat to a predominantly right-handed lineup. He’s enjoyed camp so far and used it as a chance to bond with his new teammates on and off the field.“The whole goal of spring training is developing a relationship with your teammates and getting comfortable with reads and breaks and just getting back into baseball shape http://www.marinersfanproshop.com/authentic-edgar-martinez-jersey ,” he said. “But also learning what the guy wants next to you and learning how you can help and what you can do to make your teammates better.”The three-time All-Star hit .309 with 17 homers, 36 doubles and 76 RBIs in 143 games last season, making 134 starts in left field. His best season came in 2014, when he finished third in AL MVP voting after hitting 20 homers with 97 RBIs — both career highs.He’s excited about the possibility of helping the Astros win another World Series after they took their first title in 2017. And with the group of guys he’s joining, he will be careful to simply be himself instead of trying to do too much to wow his new teammates.“You know how good everybody is in this locker room so I’m just going to come in and try to do exactly what I’m doing, and if that helps the team win games that’s all I care about Nelson Cruz Jersey ,” he said. A look at what’s happening around the majors today:SOUTH BEACH STANTONGiancarlo Stanton returns to Marlins Park for the first time since Miami traded him to the New York Yankees in December. Stanton spent his first eight years with the Marlins and was the NL MVP last season when he hit 59 home runs.Stanton went 0 for 7 with four strikeouts in mid-April when the Marlins visited Yankee Stadium. The slugger has 32 homers this year and 299 in his career going into this two-game series.“It’s going to be weird for sure walking in, going to the visitors’ side,” Stanton said. “But I am looking forward to it. It’s a big part of my life, my time down there. It will be a cool experience.”MISSED YOUStar second baseman Jose Altuve is set to come off the disabled list and rejoin the Astros. Houston wobbled minus the reigning AL MVP, whose knee trouble put him on the DL for the first time in his career. The World Series champs lost 13 of the next 20 games after Altuve was sidelined July 25. He has led the AL in hits for four straight years and is batting .329 this season. Altuve is ready to be in the lineup at Seattle.FROM WAY BACKBlue Jays rookie catcher Danny Jansen is being reunited this week with his “big bro” Adam Jones as Toronto hosts Baltimore. When Jones was a minor leaguer with Class A Wisconsin in 2004, the then-18-year-old lived with Jansen’s family. Jansen was 9 years old at the time but has since embarked on his own pro career Carlos Ruiz Jersey , making his major league debut last week. Jones tweeted Monday recalling Jansen “waking me up at 7am before you had to go to school” and the two of them playing video games.“This is a Movie,” Jones added.HEATING UPHighly touted White Sox prospect Michael Kopech makes his major league debut when he throws his 100 mph fastball at home against the Twins. The 22-year-old righty was 7-7 with a 3.70 ERA at Triple-A, striking out 170 in 126 1/3 innings. Kopech was traded from Boston to Chicago after the 2016 season in the deal for ace Chris Sale.CAREFULThe White Sox will see how manager Rick Renteria is doing a day after he was taken to a hospital because of lightheadedness. The 56-year-old Renteria was at Target Field when the issue arose before the game against the Twins on Monday. A team official said tests didn’t show any problems. Renteria remained in the hospital overnight.Bench coach Joe McEwing took over as manager for the one-game makeup in Minnesota. The teams now play twice in Chicago.