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RedHawks' Jonathan Singleton works to put suspension behind him

After serving a 50-game ban for a second drug policy violation, OKC RedHawk is adjusting to Triple-A pitching and hoping to get a shot with the Houston Astros sooner rather than later.
by Ryan Aber Published: June 21, 2013
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photo - Houston Astros' Jonathan Singleton, left, makes the catch and the out on Chicago Cubs' Darwin Barney (15) in the eighth inning of an exhibition baseball game Friday, March 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) ORG XMIT: HTA110
Houston Astros' Jonathan Singleton, left, makes the catch and the out on Chicago Cubs' Darwin Barney (15) in the eighth inning of an exhibition baseball game Friday, March 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) ORG XMIT: HTA110

“Because if we get Jonathan the man right, then we're going to get the baseball player, but if we don't get Jonathan the man right, we will never get the baseball player. To his credit he has gotten Jonathan the man right, and I think the baseball part of it will pretty much take care of itself.”

RedHawks hitting coach Leon Roberts got an up-close look at Singleton in instructional ball last winter and watched him some during spring training.

“I think he's got a good enough head on his shoulders and a good enough idea about hitting that he's going to be OK,” Roberts said. “For now, all he needs to do is get a bat in his hands, go up to home plate and act dangerous.”

He certainly looked dangerous during his first two games with the RedHawks.

In his third at-bat, Singleton roped a double to right. His next time up, he hit a laser to left field that nearly left the park for another double.

The next night, Singleton laced another double to left in his first at-bat.

“The kid has the potential to be an everyday starter for the Houston Astros, and I think eventually he's going to get the opportunity,” RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “Right now, he's getting his feet wet here.”

Singleton is adjusting to Triple-A pitchers, who are more confident in their off-speed pitches and aren't as predictable as the pitchers Singleton saw in Corpus Christi.

“Once he can make that adjustment, he'll be fine,” DeFrancesco said. “It's just something he has to go through.”

After struggling when he initially arrived in Corpus Christi this season, Singleton relaxed and returned to the form that helped him hit .284 with 21 home runs last season

“The biggest thing is trying to stay relaxed and not do too much,” Singleton said. “Just calm my heartrate down and see the ball better and hopefully hit it hard. You don't want to be too amped up.”

Roberts was doing more observing than coaching when Singleton arrived late in the last homestand, but he was looking forward to working with the prospect.

“There's some pretty exceptional life in that swing,” Roberts said. “He's a young hitter with good life and a pretty good idea about hitting coming off a pretty good year. I'm excited about him.”

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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