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March 16, 2014

Top Houston Astros prospect battles marijuana addiction

Top Astros prospect battling marijuana addiction, determined to rebound from last season

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Jon Singleton is considered the top first base prospect in baseball — a big, dynamic left-handed hitter with power and composure who can use the entire field.

He’s one of the players expected to help the Houston Astros back to respectability after three straight 100-loss seasons.

All that despite a couple of significant setbacks. And for the first time publicly, he’s opening up about his battle with an addiction to marijuana and monthlong stay at a rehabilitation center.

“At this point, it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict,” he told The Associated Press over breakfast on a recent day near the Astros’ camp. “I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself.”

Vividly so.

“I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that,” he said. “So I have to work against that.”

Singleton had steadfastly avoided discussing the subject for more than a year. But on this morning, he shared his story with disarming candor and ease.

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Singleton — he’s listed as Jonathan, but says he prefers Jon — sits up straight in a small booth, adjusts the baseball cap he’s wearing backward and fills in the details of his private struggle.

The 22-year-old says he has stopped using marijuana and is better now. He’s determined to rebound from a season that was all but lost because of his addiction and make his major league debut.

General manager Jeff Luhnow said Singleton could start the season with the Astros, but it’s too early to know for sure. Singleton has been playing in the big league spring training games.

“He’s still young and still learning both about baseball and about life,” Luhnow said.

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