Hinch riding out his players' slumps

Hinch riding out his players' slumps

HOUSTON -- With the exception of second baseman Jose Altuve and right fielder George Springer, the Astros have been a lineup of streaks so far this season. First baseman Tyler White, shortstop Carlos Correa and outfielder Colby Rasmus started hot but have cooled, while catcher Jason Castro and outfielder Carlos Gomez are on the move.

Manager A.J. Hinch is carrying only 12 position players, including a backup catcher, so he's going to have to ride the cold players. Entering Wednesday, third baseman Luis Valbuena (0-for-17), White (0-for-13), designated hitter Evan Gattis (0-for-12) and Rasmus (0-for-11) were in prolonged slumps.

"The players are going to have to wear it," Hinch said. "You have to play your way out of it. I'll give the guys a rest a little bit. I'm going to sit Colby [on Thursday] to open the series against the Mariners and try to get guys some rest to get their minds off some of the prolonged times where they're not getting hits.

"For the most part, our best players are going to always be playing and, even in the down times, they're one swing away from popping one with a big day."

Gattis and Preston Tucker have been alternating at DH, with Tucker getting some time in the outfield. Gattis has been doing catching drills for weeks and could be an option behind the plate soon. Marwin Gonzalez can play all the infield spots and has value off the bench, so Hinch is limited when one of his key regulars is scuffling.

"It's amazing what this sport will do to you at this level when a bad week can set you back, and it usually takes a couple of weeks to get back on track," he said.

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.