Hinch: Gomez's at-bats more under control

Hinch: Gomez's at-bats more under control

SEATTLE -- Is center fielder Carlos Gomez starting to come around? Astros manager A.J. Hinch said prior to Tuesday's game vs. the Mariners that Gomez's recent at-bats have been under control, saying he hasn't seen his helmet flying off when he swings as much.

Gomez, who's struggled mightily this year both at the plate and with some bad decisions on the bases, was hitting .278 (5-for-18) in the four games prior to Tuesday, though he still has just two RBIs this season. He declined to talk to reporters following Monday's loss.

"He's been in the at-bats on time a little bit with more a little bit of release of the barrel," Hinch said. "He's hitting the ball on the line quite a bit, just near misses on some home runs. It would be nice to get him heated up."

Gomez went 2-for-4 in Monday's loss to the Mariners, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base with one out in the ninth inning on a play that might have cost the Astros a run. Hinch likes the aggression and said he talked to Gomez on Tuesday about being smarter on the bases.

"As a basestealer, you look to go all the time, and what he needs to remember is if you don't get your max lead, you don't get max jump, you always have the next pitch where you could possibly go," Hinch said. "I like the mindset of trying to get to the next base and the aggression. It's something that we're built on, but other things have to factor in to make a better decision."

The Astros wanted Gomez to cut down on his swing in the spring, but he continued to swing hard enough to fall to one knee and for his helmet to fall off on occasion.

"A controlled swing is always a better swing," Hinch said. "I don't care what player you're talking about. You can talk about Gomez or any of our 12 hitters. A controlled swing is a more productive swing."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.