CHICAGO -- When Astros manager Bo Porter looked at the schedule over the offseason and saw three straight day games in Chicago, he knew it would be the perfect opportunity to have player, coach and front-office personnel's families join the team for a trip.
The family vacation is finally here, and Porter said the Astros are enjoying Chicago with their loved ones and relishing the rare opportunity to have dinner together on the road.
"This game can really be time-consuming," Porter said. "You spend a lot of time away from your family. That's why we as an organization set out to do things like we have with this trip here and allow the family to travel to get the players, the staff and the executives for some extra time with their family when usually we're on the road and they're back home. It's just a great thing to do, overall, for everybody."
Porter said he wasn't sure how many families made the trip, but the team flight and buses were packed.
Pena out of place in visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley
CHICAGO -- Astros first baseman Carlos Pena walked down the steps leading from the visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley Field and realized he was lost.
He balanced his weight on one foot and peered to his left to see the door to the main concourse, then snapped back and realized the tunnels that lead to the dugout were actually to his right.
"I have no idea where I'm going," said Pena, who called Wrigley his home ballpark two seasons ago.
Houston's three-game road trip to Chicago is the first time the 12-year veteran has ever been inside Wrigley's close-quartered visitors' clubhouse, and he said it feels weird to be on the other side of the historic park.
"I've only been on the home side, obviously," Pena said. "It's honestly an odyssey trying to get down to the field. I'm like, 'Oh this is cool, I have to take like at least 15 turns.' But it's part of the charm of this baseball park."
Pena was excited when he heard the team's family road trip would be on the Astros' three-game road trip to Chicago. His wife loves the city and didn't want to miss a chance to return during the summer.
"She loves it. She wouldn't miss it for the world, the opportunity to come out to Chicago," Pena said. "It's just beautiful, the contrast of having the lake and the big sky rises."
Houston's left-handed slugger said playing at Wrigley Field is special, but is encouraged the team is moving along with proposed renovations for the 100-year-old ballpark.
"What a great opportunity it is for whoever is designing it to be creative and make a piece of art. It's already pretty much a masterpiece, so it can only improve," Pena said. "It's going to be way better as far as the facilities are concerned, but I know they're going to keep the essence of what Wrigley Field is all about. It's going to be the best of both words at the end of the day."
Pena is a career .207 hitter at Wrigley Field, but has 12 home runs and 33 RBIs within its confines. He went 0-for-4 on Friday and was not in Houston's starting lineup for Saturday's game.
• For some teams, a three-hour, 18-minute rain delay in Wrigley Field's quaint visitor's clubhouse can be claustrophobic. But on Friday, Astros manager Bo Porter said the team was more than fine during the delay.
"This is a great clubhouse," Porter said. "It brings the team together. It puts everyone at close proximity. You have to love it."
• Porter decided not to start recently-called-up left-handed outfielder Marc Krauss with Cubs left-hander Travis Wood starting on the mound on Saturday, so the rookie will have to wait to make his Major League debut.
"I'm glad we hit outside today," Porter said. "It gave him a chance to take some balls off the bat here at Wrigley Field."
Ethan Asofsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.