ANAHEIM -- Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick, who hit a career-high 16 home runs in 106 games last year before a broken thumb in September cost him a spot on the postseason roster, became the team's first performance casualty of 2018 when he was optioned to Triple-A Fresno following Tuesday's 5-3
ANAHEIM -- Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick, who hit a career-high 16 home runs in 106 games last year before a broken thumb in September cost him a spot on the postseason roster, became the team's first performance casualty of 2018 when he was optioned to Triple-A Fresno following Tuesday's 5-3 win over the Angels.
The Astros recalled infielder Tony Kemp prior to Wednesday's series finale at Angel Stadium. Kemp is hitting .335 with a .407 OBP
"We want it to be a short stay in the Minor Leagues," Hinch said. "He needs to get some at-bats. He hasn't really been right for most of the year. The swing and miss has been a struggle for him. He's a really good player that hasn't quite gotten on track. I think it's been piling up on him in the last few weeks. He needs a run of at-bats he's not going to get here over the next 10 days or however long he's down there to get back to being a contributor again."
Marisnick is hitting .141 with three homers and seven RBIs in 85 at-bats, during which he's struck out 41 times and walked only once. He's 6-for-53 with 27 strikeouts in his last 24 games and has seen his playing time diminish.
"In the sport we play, you don't perform and you get sent down," he said. "It's an opportunity to go down and get at-bats and get it right. It's no secret I've been struggling. I'll take this opportunity to take the at-bats and try to get going."
When asked prior to Tuesday's game about bringing up a bat from Fresno to help the lineup, general manager Jeff Luhnow said the regulars need to perform.
"It's easy to look at the guys at the bottom of the order and say, 'They're not producing like they should, let's swap them out,'" he said. "Really, our offense is driven by the one through six guys, and some of those guys are doing quite fine, and some are inconsistent this year compared to last year. They'll be fine over the course of the season, but that's the best thing you can do.
"A jolt? I don't think a part-time player really comes up and gives you a jolt. We've seen what happens when you promote a [George] Springer, [Carlos] Correa, but those are unique players."
When asked about Kyle Tucker, who is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 16 prospect in baseball and is hitting .297 with three homers and 27 RBIs at Fresno, Luhnow said he's put himself in a spot to be able to help the Astros this year, though that doesn't necessarily mean his callup is imminent.
"If we feel like he can help us win the division and win in the playoffs, we're not going to hold him back," he said. "We want to win, and we're not going to sacrifice winning a few extra games for developing a little bit longer a guy that's ready."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.