Astros sign Neal Cotts to Minor League deal

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Astros will add another left-handed reliever to camp after signing veteran Neal Cotts to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League camp, manager A.J. Hinch said Friday morning. Cotts is expected in camp Saturday.

Cotts, 35, has spent 10 years in the Major Leagues with the White Sox, Cubs, Rangers, Twins and Brewers. He has 483 career appearances and has allowed 405 hits in 443 1/3 innings with a 3.96 ERA. He split last year between the Brewers and the Twins, appearing in 68 games.

The Astros have been searching for more left-handed bullpen depth to join Tony Sipp, who signed a three-year, $18 million deal in December. Kevin Chapman and non-roster players Edwar Cabrera and Wandy Rodriguez are the other lefties in camp. Hinch has said he would like to have a second lefty in the pen, and Cotts gives him another viable option.

“There’s a lot of Major League quality free agents still on the market, and we felt it was an opportunity to add to our bullpen options,” he said. “We have a little bit of a shortage of left-handed relievers, depending on where Wandy fits in, Chapman and Cabrera. Adding another left-handed option with his experience will give us some choices at the end of camp.

“He’s seasoned, he’s been very good throughout his career and he offers us some versatility that we don’t have a ton of. I talked to him on the phone last night and I’m looking forward to introducing him into camp and getting him up and running. He’s a veteran, he’s been around and knows how to prepare himself. I don’t worry about him being a few days late to camp, but it’ll make our competition and our decision-making a little stronger.”

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