Astros sign Crowe, Escalona, Gonzalez, Valdez to minor-league deals

Bob Levey

All four players will also receive invites to spring training.

The Houston Astros have added four players to their organization, signing Trevor Crowe, Sergio Escalona, Edgar Gonzalez and Jose Valdez to minor-league deals, reports Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle:

The Astros announced Tuesday they signed outfielder Trevor Crowe, left-handed pitcher Sergio Escalona, and right-handed pitchers Edgar Gonzalez and Jose Valdez.

The minor league free agents will receive invitations to Houston’s 2013 spring training.

The 29-year-old Crowe, a former first round pick by the Indians, has seen sporadic playing time at the big-league level over the past three seasons, all with Cleveland. The switch-hitter batted just .245/.295/.329 with three home runs in 205 games with the Tribe, leading to his release in mid-July.

Escalona, 28, spent all of 2012 on the disabled list recovering from Tommy John surgery. The left-hander put up solid numbers out of the bullpen for the Astros in 2011 -- a 2.93 ERA and 8.1 K/9 rate in 49 appearances -- so could find himself back in the majors fairly quickly once healthy.

Gonzalez, 29, made six September starts for Houston this past season, posting a 5.04 ERA in 25 innings of work. The veteran right-hander -- who has pitched in parts of nine big-league seasons -- was outrighted off the 40-man roster at the beginning of the month and will likely stay in the minors as rotation depth.

Valdez, 29, was also a September call-up along with Gonzalez. The right-hander posted a 2.25 ERA in 12 relief appearances, a much better result than his 2011 call-up when he put up a 9.00 ERA in 14 innings.

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