The Astros announced tonight (on Twitter) that they’ve re-signed lefty reliever Joe Thatcher to a minor league contract. Thatcher, a client of Platinum Sports, had elected free agency after being designated for assignment late last month. He’ll head to Triple-A Fresno, according to the Astros.
The 33-year-old Thatcher signed a minor league deal with Houston in the offseason but made the team out of Spring Training and has enjoyed generally successful results in his first year with the Astros. He’s posted a 3.79 ERA and averaged better than 10 strikeouts per nine innings, though he’s also battled his command, yielding 5.2 walks per nine frames as well.
Typically a strong performer against left-handed hitters, Thatcher’s struggled in that department this season, yielding a .267/.389/.356 batting line across 55 plate appearances. He’ll hope to get back on track in Triple-A and resurface with Houston later this season. A strong track record suggests that’s a plausible outcome for the veteran Thatcher, who has a 3.04 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 210 1/3 innings dating back to the 2009 season.