Struggling Martinez takes day off amidst slump

Struggling Martinez takes day off amidst slump

HOUSTON -- Astros left-fielder J.D. Martinez, who entered Sunday mired in a 1-for-22 slump, was out of the lineup for the series finale against the Cardinals. Martinez has one hit since April 28, dropping his average to .247 from .310.

Martinez hit three homers in his first seven games of the season, but hasn't homered since, a span of 66 at-bats.

"It's just one of those things," Martinez said. "It happens every year. Right now, I'm just fighting and trying to get through it. I felt like I've put some really good at-bats together, and it's just sometimes you have a case of the 'at-'ems.' You hit some balls right at people, some balls that usually might go through. I'm working through it and I know I'll get it back."

Astros manager Brad Mills is hopeful a day off will help Martinez in much the same way it appeared to help Chris Johnson, who was out of the lineup on Tuesday and came back on Wednesday and went 4-for-4 with two homers and six RBIs.

"I think it will be good for him," Mills said. "We gave C.J. a day off last week and he comes back the next day and hits two home runs and seemed to have a better approach at the plate. Is that the answer? No. Just giving him a day off? No. Sometimes if a guy can just take a mental breather [it helps], and we're hoping that does it for him."