Astros sign four to minor league deals

Astros sign four to minor league deals
November 27, 2012, 2:45 pm
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September 3, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Edgar Gonzalez (31) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning at PNC Park. The Houston Astros won 5-1.

(Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE)

The Astros have signed outfielder Trevor Crowe, left-handed pitcher Sergio Escalona, and right-handed pitchers Edgar Gonzalez and Jose Valdez to minor-league contracts with invitations to spring training, according to Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow.

Crowe, a 29-year-old switch-hitter who has played all three outfield positions, split his 2012 season in the Indians and Angels minor league system where he hit a combined .281with a .349 on-base percentage, 19 doubles, 29 RBI and 18 stolen bases in 84 games. He finished his season at Triple-A Salt Lake in Los Angeles’ system, hitting .301 with 10 doubles, 16 RBI and 10 steals in 42 games. Crowe was drafted 14th overall by Cleveland in 2005 and has played in parts of three Major League seasons with the Indians.  

Escalona, a 28-year-old left-handed reliever, spent all of 2012 on the Astros disabled list while recovering from left elbow surgery. He was outrighted off the Astros' 40-man roster on Nov. 1, 2012. Escalona has seen Major League time with Philadelphia (2009) and Houston (2011). He has posted a 3.48 ERA in 63 Major League games.

Also outrighted off the Astros 40-man roster on Nov. 1 was Gonzalez, a 29-year-old right-handed pitcher. After his contract was purchased from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sept. 3, he went 3-1 with a 5.04 ERA in six starts for the Astros. Gonzalez has pitched in parts of eight Major League seasons with Arizona (2003-08), Oakland (2009), Colorado (2011) and Houston (2012).

Valdez, a 29-year-old right-handed pitcher, was called up by the Astros in September and had a 2.25 ERA in 12 relief appearances. He was outrighted off the club’s 40-man roster on Nov. 1. He spent most of last season with Oklahoma City, where he posted a 4.95 ERA with 21 saves in 46 relief appearances.