Tucker quickly taking over 3rd spot in lineup

Rookie piling up hits in 18 games, scores pivotal run in shutout win

Tucker quickly taking over 3rd spot in lineup

HOUSTON -- Rookie outfielder Preston Tucker has made the most of his first taste of the big leagues and has become a regular part of the first-place Astros' lineup.

Tucker, called up from Triple-A Fresno on May 7, went 2-for-4 with a run scored in Saturday's 3-0 win over the White Sox at Minute Maid Park and has become entrenched in the No. 3 spot in the batting order. He's started five consecutive games in left field, including the last four in the third spot in the lineup.

His multihit game Saturday was his second in a row and sixth of the season, and he has 19 hits, which is the most for an Astros player's first 18 career games since Jose Altuve (23) and Jimmy Paredes (20) in 2011.

"Tuck continues to contribute," manager A.J. Hinch said of the lefty-swinging prospect. "He's hung in there against lefties, which again for a young player, to get his first taste of Major League left-handed pitching, his pitch selection was good and at-bats are good. He's in the at-bat the whole way. He's in the three-hole for a reason, and that's to contribute. He's looking more and more calm every day."

Tucker launches two homers

Tucker's recent increase in playing time has come at the expense of Colby Rasmus and Jake Marisnick, who are emerging as a center-field platoon.

"He's done everything we've asked him to do and we want to continue to ask a lot out of him, which is why he's hitting in the middle of the order," Hinch said. "Quite honestly, he's making it hard on the other guys to fight to stay in the lineup. It's a good problem to have. There's nobody better you want up right now with the way he's swinging the bat."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com 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.