White furthers first-base case with 2-RBI day

Prospect battling for everyday role with Singleton, Reed, Duffy

White furthers first-base case with 2-RBI day

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros appear to have a leader in the race to win the starting first-base job on Opening Day.

Tyler White, the 25-year-old hitting machine who's put up impressive numbers at every level of the Minor Leagues after being drafted in the 33rd round in 2013, came off the bench Tuesday and went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a walk in the 8-7 win over the Braves. He's ranked as the No. 13 Astros prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.

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White is hitting .371 with one homer, nine RBIs and a .452 on-base percentage in 35 at-bats and appears to have a leg up over Jon Singleton (.146), Matt Duffy (.219) and top first-base prospect A.J. Reed (.250), who had a go-ahead sacrifice fly on Tuesday.

"[White] is right in the middle of it and making a great push to potentially make our team," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's doing everything that he can do to make a good impression. His quality of at-bats are very good, and he doesn't go outside the strike zone very often, he doesn't pull off the ball very often, he doesn't do anything. … He always does things that are right.

White singles in a run

"He's made probably one or two mistakes on the bases, and that's about it this spring. I've been very pleased with his baseball understanding and his ability to put up a good at-bat from the first day on."

That being said, Hinch said no decision on the starting first baseman needs to be made until the team breaks camp next week, and the competition doesn't end there. Utility player Marwin Gonzalez will get some starts at first base no matter what, Hinch said.

"You obviously have one deadline with breaking of camp coming, but the competition is not going to stop there," Hinch said. "Whoever we go with is going to have guys who are chasing him. We break to go to Mexico [on Friday], and when we come back, those last couple of games [in Florida] and those games in Houston [March 31-April 1 against Milwaukee], I'd like to have some clarity."

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.