Starts to be scarce for Singleton the rest of the way

Starts to be scarce for Singleton the rest of the way

HOUSTON -- Rookie first baseman Jon Singleton figures to start only a few more games this season. He's mired in an 0-for-20 slump that has sunk his batting average to .169 entering Friday, when he was out of the lineup.

Interim manager Tom Lawless wants to give designated hitter Chris Carter some playing time at first base over the next couple of days so he'll be fresh when the Astros close the season with a three-game series in a National League park -- Citi Field, against the Mets.

Singleton has four hits in his last 52 at-bats, with 29 strikeouts during that span.

"He wants to play, but he's struggling so bad you don't want to beat him up so bad he's toast," Lawless said. "We'll give him a couple of days. We'll let Chris get out there, and it's going to help Chris. We'll use Singy as a pinch-hitter in New York, and he'll still get at-bats and still get playing time, but it's more important we get Chris out there, too, because he's trying to get to 40 home runs."

Singleton began the season as one of the club's top prospects. He was called up in early June and homered in his first game, but it's been tough sledding since. In 90 games he has 13 homers and 44 RBIs, with 130 strikeouts in 301 at-bats.

"He's a young kid at this level, and everybody expects so much out of him because of who he is and what he did in the Minor Leagues," Lawless said. "It's just tough up here. If you're not mentally strong and you let any outside things affect you, it affects the way you play. He didn't get off to a good start and couldn't get himself going, and it's just piled up on him.

"Now he's trying so hard that nothing works for him. He needs to just sit back [this offseason] and get away from it for a while -- two months of not even seeing nothing. Come do your work in December and be ready in January for Spring Training and be the player we all want to see."

Brian McTaggart is reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.