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Astros claim Norichika Aoki off waivers from Mariners

The outfielder heads to Houston in a bit of a surprising early offseason move.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros have claimed outfielder Norichika Aoki off waivers from the Mariners, according to a club announcement.

Aoki, 34, hit .283/.349/.388 with four home runs in 118 games with the Mariners after signing a 1-year, $5.5 million contract with the club last winter. There is a bit of confusion over Aoki’s contract status for next season, as varying reports have cited him having a mutual option, being a free agent, or being arbitration-eligible.

Houston was known to be looking for outfield help this winter due to the likely departures of free agent Colby Rasmus. Aoki, who has experience at all three outfield spots, will join Preston Tucker, Tony Kemp, Jake Marisnick, Teoscar Hernandez and Marwin Gonzalez in the team’s outfield mix alongside George Springer.

Aoki is a veteran of five major-league seasons with the Brewers (2012-13), Royals (2014), Giants (2015) and Mariners (2016), and owns a career .286/.353/.387 line with 28 home runs and 88 steals.