Astros seeking consistency at corners

Hinch believes concentration will go a long way

May 17th, 2017

MIAMI -- Consistency at the corners is something Astros manager A.J. Hinch is working toward as the team continues its hot streak to start the 2017 season. Somewhat overlooked by its best start in franchise history, defense at both first and third base has been a bit inconsistent.

Settling in on at third base could be the answer on the left side of the infield. Simple concentration could be the key on the other side, where Yuli Gurriel is attempting to adjust to his new position after moving over from third to make room for Bregman.

"I'm trying to bring some normalcy and some routine to Bregman defensively," Hinch said. "He's more than capable of playing other positions. I put him at second base last night as just a simple plug-in for [Jose] Altuve the last couple of innings [of a 12-2 blowout],"

Wednesday was Bregman's 74th game at third base, and he has 12 errors in 200 total chances.

"Some consistency might do him some good at third base," Hinch said. "He's been working on a few things timing-wise and depth-wise. So not going back and forth and leaving that job up to Marwin [Gonzalez] is probably the better way to go."

On the other side of the diamond, Gurriel entered Wednesday having made five errors in 35 games, including dropping a routine popup Tuesday. Still, Hinch isn't concerned.

"If I thought it was something more than concentration, I would be concerned," Hinch said. "But I think it's simple concentration. And I know it's piled up on him a little bit on this road trip, and he's very frustrated by it.

"So it's not a skill issue. It's not a range issue. It's not a talent issue. It's simply a concentration issue on some plays that he's made 1,000 times in his life. Maybe not at first base, but he's not going to go through the season dropping routine popups. He's too talented for that."

Gurriel had only played in 40 games at first base since coming to the Astros late last season, and for the most part, he had been doing an admirable job of transitioning from third.

"If it was more than that, if there was an uncomfortableness or a technique issue, then I think there would be cause for concern," Hinch said. "But concentration and completing the play will go a long way in forgetting about these mishaps."