Astros acquire infielder Inglett from Rays

Astros acquire infielder Inglett from Rays

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros addressed their need for a left-handed bat off the bench by acquiring infielder Joe Inglett from the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations.

Inglett, who will join the Astros on Monday in Clearwater, Fla., led all Major League players in pinch-hits last year, batting .294 with two doubles, four triples and a home run with the Brewers. Astros general manager Ed Wade said he had interest in Inglett in the offseason before he signed a Minor League deal with Tampa Bay.

"We know he can give us a quality at-bat off the bench in that role and can play around the infield, can play a little bit of outfield," he said. "We'll throw him into the mix here for the next couple of days and give him a chance and see where it all leads."

Wade said he began having conversations with Rays general manager Andrew Friedman about Inglett before starting shortstop Clint Barmes broke his hand when he was hit by a pitch on Friday. Inglett isn't in the running to start at shortstop, but his chances to make the club are good.

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The only other left-handed-hitting players in the running for a bench spot are non-roster invitee Anderson Hernandez, a switch-hitter, and outfielder J.B. Shuck, who spent most of last year at Double-A Corpus Christi.

"We're trying to see if there are left-handed opportunities, and right now, if you look at the way we're set up, you've got Anderson Hernandez as a switch-hitter and J.B. Shuck as a left-handed hitter in the mix," Wade said. "We think that with Inglett's experience and the fact he's succeeded in that role in the past, it made sense to bring him in and give us a little bit more to consider putting the final roster together."

Prior to joining the Brewers last season, Inglett had been with the Blue Jays the previous three seasons (2007-09) and hit .297 and .281 in 2008-09, respectively. He has a .286 career average in 313 Major League games with 35 doubles, 17 triples, six home runs and 76 RBIs. Inglett has a .272 career average as a pinch-hitter with a home run and eight RBIs.

Also in the competition for a backup infield spot are Tommy Manzella, Angel Sanchez and Matt Downs, though one of those -- or Hernandez -- will have to start the season in Barmes' place. Manager Brad Mills on Sunday told non-roster invitees Oswaldo Navarro, an infielder, and Ross Wolf, a pitcher, they weren't going to make the club.

Wade said he expects to wait until Thursday to finalize the roster, including sorting out the infield, settling on a backup outfielder and putting together the last few pieces of the bullpen.

"We'll use whatever amount of time they give us to try to come to the right decisions, whether it's sifting through the guys that are here right now or paying attention to the waiver wire or making phone calls to see if there are other things we might be able to do," Wade said.