HOUSTON -- After being named the American League Player of the Week for the first week of the season, Astros first baseman Tyler White has struggled to recapture that form. The Astros optioned White to Triple-A Fresno on Friday to make room for relief pitcher Luke Gregerson, who was activated
HOUSTON -- After being named the American League Player of the Week for the first week of the season, Astros first baseman Tyler White has struggled to recapture that form. The Astros optioned White to Triple-A Fresno on Friday to make room for relief pitcher Luke Gregerson, who was activated from the family medical emergency list.
White was hitting .211 with seven homers and 20 RBIs, but most of that damage came in the first week of the season when he came out of the gate and hit .556 with three homers and nine RBIs. Since then, he hit .169 with four homers, 11 RBIs and an OPS of .548.
"We decided it was best for everybody for Tyler to go down and get some at-bats in Triple-A and find his swing more consistently there," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He did get off to such a hot start and one of the most impressive starts to a career that many of us have ever seen. It was tough sledding for him the rest of the way.
"He wasn't seeing left-handed pitching as well as he normally does. I think the home runs early got him swinging up and swinging airborne a little bit. He ran into a little bit of a tough six-week stretch. We'll get him down and get him some regular at-bats in Triple-A and we feel like he'll bounce back quickly, but he needs to do that in Triple-A rather than sit the bench here."
With White out of the picture, Luis Valbuena and Marwin Gonzalez will split time at first, with Valbuena and Danny Worth splitting time at third. Worth could also get some at-bats at first.
"I've been waiting for someone to take over that job for a while now, but those guys will be able to manage while we continue to try to find the answer," Hinch said.
Hinch's message to White was just to relax a little bit and get back in the groove at the plate.
"We just need him to exhale and get back to being a good hitter first and a dangerous hitter second," Hinch said. "The popups in the infield, the over-swinging part that comes with struggling at this level is something that he's going to try to go fix. For him, he can be a productive player. He knows that. He can be a main part of what we're doing here. The reps that he needs have to come somewhere else."
Gregerson missed only two games in St. Louis earlier in the week while he tended to a family issue at home.
"He's the consummate pro," Hinch said. "He's very guarded and private with his life, and so we're not going to pry too much into it. We all know he's hurting inside with some of the things that are going on, and he's battled through a lot of adversity with this. For him, getting back active again, getting back to his second family will be good for him, and we'll pick up where we left off. He'll be right back in the thick of things."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.