Astros Will Take Their Time With Correa





HOUSTON—Carlos Correa is in the final stage of his initial professional season.

After taking a brief breather following a 2012 campaign in which the No. 1 overall pick played 50 games between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast and Appalachian leagues, the 18-year-old shortstop returned to his home country to play in the Puerto Rican League. He was 3-for-17 through his first six games for Carolina.

A week before returning to the field, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound shortstop took center stage at Houston's Minute Maid Park. Flanked by other Astros prospects including Jonathan Singleton, George Springer and Jarred Cosart, Correa sported Houston's new logo and uniform before a crowd of more than 5,000.

Baseball was primarily on his mind, though, and Correa has been eyeing continual improvement after hitting an overall .258/.305/.400 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 2012.

"My offseason workout is obviously to improve all my skills, to get better every time . . . I'm just working out everyday and doing my best out there," Correa said.

He added: "I've got to be ready and put up some good numbers (in Puerto Rico)."

Asked about his 2013 plans, Correa said he'd been informed by the Astros he'll begin next season with low Class A Quad Cities.

"I'm really excited," Correa said. "I'm working hard to have a good spring training and keep it going. Try to reach the big leagues as quickly as I can."

Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow said Correa's 2013 destination hasn't been cemented yet. A rebuilding Astros organization that's still revamping its once-depleted farm system isn't in a hurry to fast-track one of it most promising prospects.

"One of the lessons we learned last year is where we put the prospects matters," Luhnow said. "Sometimes they aren't at the level that they want to be at, but they're at the level that's right for their development at that time."

Space Shots

• Former Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco will manage Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2013. DeFrancesco took over for Brad Mills at the end of 2012, guiding Houston to a 16-25 record during the team's record-setting 107-loss season.

• Singleton will also attend spring training with the Astros and have a chance to make the big league club. The 21-year-old first baseman hit .226/.345/.409 with three homers in 93 at-bats for Mesa in the Arizona Fall League.