Singleton summoned for depth after helping Fresno win Triple-A title
By Chandler Rome
HOUSTON -- It's becoming increasingly evident that the Astros will be without the services of center fielder Carlos Gomez when the American League West-leading Rangers come to Minute Maid Park for a crucial three-game series starting Friday.
"He did a little bit more yesterday, he's not in the lineup today," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said before Wednesday's finale vs. the Angels. "Clearly we're not close to full, but hopefully we'll have him in some capacity. He ran the bases as hard as he's ran the bases since the injury yesterday. Pinch-running and defense is closer than the hitting."
Gomez, part of a Trade Deadline acquisition along with Mike Fiers, hit safely in 14 of his prior 16 games -- including five doubles in his past nine games -- before suffering an intercostal injury on Sept. 12.
It was Gomez's first semblance of offensive consistency since coming over to Houston, where he struggled to begin his Astros career, including a .221 average in August. When he went down with the injury, he was hitting .306 in September.
"The performance is what it is, and you can't always guarantee elite performance all the time," Hinch said. "His effort, his influence, his energy all across the board are really good. Not having him during this last week and a half or so is tough for us, because he provides a lot for us even when he's not playing at his elite level. He was swinging the bat much better before the injury, and so I can't even say the numbers wouldn't have corrected themselves this last week if he would be in the lineup. We are anxious to get him back. We need him for this stretch run."
Singleton joins club
After winning two Triple-A championships in three days, Jon Singleton joined another club searching for a championship when he was recalled by the Astros for a third Major League stint.
Singleton came straight from El Paso, Texas, where the Pacific Coast League champion Fresno Grizzlies added a National Championship to their resume, defeating International League champs Columbus, 7-0, in the Triple-A title game on Tuesday. Singleton had two hits in the PCL Championship Game.
"You kind of understand what being in the postseason is all about," Singleton said. "You know what to expect from the emotion, the energy. You kind of got a feel for it. It's a great opportunity. I'm ready for it."
Singleton hit just .205 in his previous two stints, but he is seen as a power-hitting left-handed bat that Hinch can use to match up off the bench.
Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.