The Astros have made a series of roster moves in advance of tonight’s contest with the Tigers, tweets Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. Aledmys Díaz and Blake Taylor have each been reinstated from the injured list, with Taylor and J.J. Matijevic each optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land. Taylor returns from the 60-day IL and again occupies a spot on the 40-man roster. To free the 40-man vacancy, Houston designated Taylor Jones for assignment.
Díaz missed a bit less than a month with a left groin issue. That interrupted what has been a solid season for the utilityman, who carries a .252/.303/.417 line over 274 trips. Díaz has connected on ten homers and only struck out in 16.8% of his plate appearances, displaying a solid blend of contact skills and power off the bench. He’s been a roughly league average hitter for most of his four years in Houston while offering some cover all around the infield and in the corner outfield.
His return adds to the club’s infield depth and perhaps made it easier to take Jones off the roster. Jones has played all four corner spots (primarily the infield) in the minor leagues. The former 19th-round pick has appeared at the big league level in each of the past three seasons, although he’s only taken a single plate appearance this year. Over 131 career plate appearances, he carries a .234/.260/.395 line with a trio of longballs.
That’s obviously not great offensive output, but Jones has a solid track record in the minors. The 6’7″ righty has hit .279/.377/.487 in parts of four seasons at Triple-A. That includes a useful .263/.370/.456 mark across 322 plate appearances with Sugar Land this season, with the Gonzaga product demonstrating a decent combination of plate discipline and power. Those numbers are also a bit deflated by some struggles early on while Jones was making his return from a back injury that landed him on the IL to start the season. He’s been hitting very well for the Space Cowboys going back to the start of August.
Nevertheless, the Astros will have to place him on waivers in the next few days. The 28-year-old is in his final minor league option year, so any team that claims him could stash him in Triple-A for the rest of this season but would have to carry him on next year’s Opening Day roster or again make him available to other teams.
As for Taylor, he’s been out since early June with left elbow discomfort. The southpaw has spent the past month on a rehab assignment, using up the allotted 30-day window for injured pitchers to build back into game shape. Houston will keep him in the minors on optional assignment but had to bring him back off the 60-day IL now that he’s healthy. The 27-year-old worked to a solid 3.94 ERA through 16 innings before the injury, but a 12% strikeout rate paired with a 13.3% walk percentage was rather alarming.