HOUSTON -- Third-base coach Pat Listach, who also handles the infielders, had rookie first baseman Jon Singleton on the field prior to batting practice on Thursday to work on scooping balls out of the dirt on throws, which is something Singleton has struggled with this season.
Listach threw balls from several angles, bouncing them just shy of the base, and instructed Singleton to catch them backhanded instead of forehanded.
"He's working to get his hands a little softer on the picks," Listach said. "When the ball comes and it's in the dirt, he's been picking and been going hard after balls, and I'm trying to get him to go a little softer. Make sure you see it and be soft with it and make those plays instead of being so hard."
Singleton understands he needs to clean up his defense when it came to picking balls out of the dirt. If a first baseman can't routinely make clean picks, the infielders have more pressure to make accurate throws.
"It's more about feeling than anything," Singleton said. "If you have a good feeling about it and you're seeing the ball, most likely, things are going to end up well. It's kind of a coin flip when the ball's in the dirt. The more you work at it, the better you get defensively."
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.