Luhnow checks in with top prospects at Triple-A

Astros general manager gets closer look at Singleton, Correa

Luhnow checks in with top prospects at Triple-A

BALTIMORE -- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow joined the team Monday after spending the weekend at Triple-A Fresno watching some of the organization's top prospects, including shortstop Carlos Correa and first baseman Jon Singleton, who's hitting .291 with 14 homers and 47 RBIs.

"We've got plenty of players there that could play a role up here this summer and it was good to connect with them," Luhnow said. "They've got a good thing going. They've got a really fun team and a lot of guys with Major League experience and a lot of guys that wish they were here in Houston with us and some guys that could be here this summer."

Luhnow said he had one-on-one conversations with several of the players who are wondering where they fit into the Astros' plans. The Astros are looking for ways to improve, but it's hard to make impactful changes to the roster of the team with the most wins in the Majors entering Monday.

"I think everybody down there is wondering what the opportunity is here," Luhnow said. "So I had some individual conversations. I think they know the situation. We've got a good team here playing well and they're waiting for the opportunity, but they also know when the opportunity comes they need to be ready."

Singleton is putting up massive numbers, but the Astros are winning with the combination of Evan Gattis at designated hitter and Chris Carter at first base, even if they strike out a lot and are struggling to hit above .200.

Luhnow saw Singleton hit an opposite-field homer Sunday off Sean Doolittle, which was impressive considering the Astros are trying to get him to hit up the middle and to the opposite field more.

"You just tell him to keep doing what he's doing," Luhnow said. "He's very focused. He's not letting the fact he's not here get to him."

Meanwhile, Correa is hitting .288 with two homers, seven RBIs and three stolen bases through 12 games after getting promoted to Triple-A two weeks ago. The team's top prospect, Correa is expected to be in Houston at some point this summer.

"He's at the level now where he can envision himself in the big leagues," Luhnow said. "Some of those guys [at Fresno] he's played with and some he hasn't. There's a lot of big leaguers on that team, so he's been respectful of doing this work. I happened to be there when hitting coordinator Jeff Albert was there, and he spent a lot of time asking him questions. It's good. He's benefited from that experience."

• Left-hander Brett Oberholtzer, who's on the disabled list with a blister on the index finger of his throwing hand, will make a rehab start at Fresno in the next few days, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. Meanwhile, right-hander Samuel Deduno, on the DL with back stiffness, will throw a bullpen Tuesday in Baltimore and could also make a rehab appearance later this week.

• The Astros have released Minor League slugger Telvin Nash, who was a third-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. He hit 29 homers at Class A Advanced Lancaster in 2012 and last year led the Texas League with 22 homers. He was hitting .228 with seven homers and 27 RBIs in 30 games for Double-A Corpus Christi this year and was released when outfielder Brandon Meredith was activated from the DL.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.