Astros' Nash Ready To Leave Injuries Behind

HOUSTON—For Telvin Nash, the big 21-year-old who jetted to the top of the minor league home run leaderboard early this season, the more important stat has been something different.

Nash had nine home runs in his first 19 games at high Class A Lancaster, and the Astros were more encouraged by the second number than the first after Nash dealt with injury problems last year. He also had been able to play mostly in the outfield rather than first base.

The 6-foot-1, 248-pound Nash played in just 73 games at low Class A Lexington after surgery to remove a hamate bone and subsequent wrist issues.

"I'm encouraged by the fact that he's stayed healthy," farm director Fred Nelson said. "I think this is great that he's having a chance to get at-bats virtually every day and his test like the others will come when they begin to adjust to him a little bit."

Nash hit 14 home runs during his abbreviated season at low Class A, and that success has carried over into the early part of 2012, though his results are admittedly bolstered by the hitter-friendly environment at Lancaster.

Seeing hitters lay waste to the California League is something that's not new to the Astros since they first came to Lancaster in 2009. But they aren't eager to find Nash a new challenge so quickly.

"It's OK for the guy to lead the league in home runs or to lead it in RBIs or to have a good year," Nelson said. "I don't think we're in a mode where we're looking to move guys at the first drop of the hat. He's a guy who didn't have a lot of at-bats last year."

Nash, a third-round pick out of Griffin (Ga.) High in 2009, has fit the traditional slugger's profile as he's attempted to build the rest of his game around his natural power.

"It's a great place to hit," Nash said. "But I'm trying not to stay here too long."

Space Shots

• Veteran minor leaguer Jose Martinez took an early lead in the Double-A Texas League RBI standings for Corpus Christi, and general manager Jeff Luhnow, who originally signed him in St. Louis, says the 26-year-old second baseman still has a chance to be a major league contributor.

• Righthanded reliever Josh Zeid went on the disabled list at Corpus Christi with elbow soreness, and Nelson said the first approach would be to monitor it through a rest period.