Astros sign Cedeno, option out J.D. Martinez
The Astros made official what MLB.com first reported Saturday by announcing the signing of veteran shortstop Ronny Cedeno, who will be in the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Marlins.
Cedeno, who was released by the Cardinals last week, and Marwin Gonzalez will split time at shortstop to begin the regular season after the club informed Tyler Greene on Saturday he wasn’t going to make the club. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow pursued Cedeno in the offseason, but weren’t aggressive considering they had Jed Lowrie in the fold.
“When he became available, we went back to our original plan,” Luhnow said. “He sees an opportunity here to be, if not an every day, a guy that get a lot of playing time. Ronny has a lot of experience at the big league level. He’s only 30 years old, but he plays winter ball just about every year. I’ve been following his career since he was a prospect with the Cubs.
“He is defensively very, very good and with our young pitching staff, our ground ball staff, we felt we needed a reliable defensive player that could help the pitchers. The last thing we want to do is extend innings by not being able to make plays. Ronny is also a Major League hitter, and I think he’s going to give us an opportunity to produce some runs from that position as well.”
Greene is out of options and Luhnow said the team exploring options with other clubs regarding Greene, who struggled this spring.
“Tyler did a good job for us last year as part of this team,” Luhnow said. “He’s got value. He’s a Major League player and I think it’s more the emergence of Marwin, feeling that after Marwin spent all year with the club last year and the things he’s been able to show us this spring, being a switch-hitter, being very solid defensively, being able to play third base, second base, shortstop. I think all of that led us to feel Marwin beat out Tyler for a position on the team.”
Also, the team optioned outfielder J.D. Martinez, who started in left field last year for the Astros on Opening Day, to Triple-A Oklahoma City and also reassigned catcher Jason Jaramillo to Minor League camp
Cedeno, 30, played for the Mets last year and appeared in 78 games, hitting .259 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 186 plate appearances. He’s a career .247 hitter with 37 homers and 218 RBIs in an eight-year career with the Cubs, Pirates, Mariners and Mets.
“I’m very excited to be here,” Cedeno said. “I can be an everyday player and that’s very important. It’s kind of frustrating because I got released in St. Louis and they pushed me to get here and I have an opportunity, and now I’m going to enjoy it.”
The Astros traded shortstop Jed Lowrie in February and came to camp with Greene and Gonzalez vying to be his replacement. They’ve both had 42 at-bats in 18 games this spring, and Greene is hitting .167 with no RBIs and Gonzalez is hitting .238 with a homer and two RBIs.