PITTSBURGH -- Astros top prospect Jonathan Singleton, who is nearing the end of his 50-game suspension after violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for a drug of abuse -- his second positive test -- will begin his season sometime next week at Class A Quad Cities before moving to Triple-A Oklahoma City, general manager Jeff Luhnow said Sunday.
Singleton, ranked by MLB.com as the top prospect in the Astros organization, was suspended Jan. 9. He later said in a statement he had tested positive for marijuana.
Singleton, a left-handed-hitting first baseman, hit .284 with 21 homers and 79 RBIs in 131 games last year at Double-A Corpus Christi and was expected to push for playing time on the Major League club this year. The Astros acquired him and three other players from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade in 2011.
Luhnow didn't have an exact date for Singleton's return, saying it would happen next week. He would likely be eligible to return May 28, which would be the 51st game on Corpus Christi's schedule, and he was on its roster when suspended.
"Right now, it looks like we're going to send him to Quad Cities for a short period of time, and from there go to his next assignment, which will probably be Oklahoma City," he said. "Just give him a chance to play under the lights somewhere else, and Quad Cities is our newest affiliate and we love the ballpark and we love the management team, and it's a good opportunity.
"Whenever we have a chance to send a big leaguer, or close to a big league player there, it strengthens the bond between us and our affiliate."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.