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Texas notes: Singleton in good position
Hooks first baseman adjusting well to Astros organization
06/05/2012 10:21 AM ET
Jonathan Singleton is hitting .306 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs for the Hooks.
Jonathan Singleton is hitting .306 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs for the Hooks. (Walter Barnard)
Jonathan Singleton has played baseball since he was 8 years old, and it didn't take long for him to chose the game over his father's sport of football.

Never mind that Herb Singleton was once quarterback for the University of Oregon. Jonathan, Corpus Christi's first baseman and the Houston Astros' No. 1 prospect, had his heart set on baseball -- though it wasn't like he was turning his back on a family business or ignoring his father's wishes.

"Actually my dad wanted me to play baseball, so it went pretty smoothly," said Singleton. "You last longer, and he thinks it's a much more complex game."

In his fourth pro season, the 20-year-old Singleton is preparing for what looks like an eventuality -- the day he suits up with Houston.

"It's a good organization -- good things happen, so I'm definitely excited about it," he said.

Singleton has been with the Astros since midseason last year, when he came over in a trade from the Phillies.

"I really didn't know how to take it at first, but I was just going in stride with it," he said of the deal that sent Hunter Pence to Philadelphia. "Whatever happened, happened."

Singleton, originally taken by the Phillies in the eighth round of the 2009 Draft out of Long Beach (Calif.) Millikan High School, has hit at least .290 in each of his first three Minor League seasons. He clubbed a career-high 14 home runs at Class A Lakewood in the South Atlantic League in 2010.

The Phillies, who have Ryan Howard signed at first base for the long term, tried Singleton in left field during the Arizona Fall League in 2010 but decided to package him with three other players for Pence last July.

"The Phillies have a lot of seasoned veterans, so it takes a lot to get to the big leagues in that organization," Singleton said. "But with this organization, they have a lot of young players and they're giving a lot of young players opportunities, so it's definitely going to be nice."

There's still talk of Singleton playing left if Brett Wallace, who came to Houston from Toronto in a trade for prospect Anthony Gose and currently plays in Triple-A, blossoms at first. But most projections have Singleton playing there for the Astros in the near future.

"First base is my first love, but a second position is always nice," Singleton said. "Left field is different, but it's definitely part of the game. ... It can only help the club if you can play different positions and be beneficial at them."

If there's a weakness in Singleton's armor, it's his production against left-handers -- something he calls "a work in progress."

Batting .306 with 11 home runs overall this season, he's hitting only .204 against lefties.

"I'm having rough times here and there, but I feel like I'm hanging in there," said Singelton, who hit his first and only home run against a lefty last week. "I just try to hit the ball hard everywhere, not try to do too much."

In brief

Olt times: Frisco third baseman and Rangers prospect Mike Olt has been in the thick of things of late. The 23-year-old third baseman belted two home runs and scored the winning run in the ninth inning as Frisco beat Tulsa, 4-3, at Dr Pepper Ballpark Friday. Olt also homered again Saturday to send the RoughRiders' game against Northwest Arkansas into extra innings, though the Naturals posted a five-run 10th to take a 10-5 victory.

Handling the 'Hounds: If only Tulsa right-hander Joe Gardner could pitch against Midland every start. Gardner -- acquired with Alex White,Drew Pomeranz and Matt McBride for Ubaldo Jimenez last summer -- retired the first 15 RockHounds he faced Saturday en route to his second straight win against Midland. He's 2-0 versus the RockHounds with a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings, allowing two hits and four runs.

Slow going: The Arkansas Travelers suffered a 15-inning loss to Corpus Christi on Thursday and endured an 18-minute delay when the outfield lights at Dickey-Stephens Park went out in a loss to the Hooks on Friday. They then played 13 innings Saturday and scratched out a 6-5 victory over San Antonio.

Todd Traub is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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