The Astros have sent right-hander Jake Cousins outright to Triple-A Sugar Land, tweets Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. Houston had designated him for assignment earlier in the week upon reinstating Michael Brantley from the injured list.
Cousins spent a month on Houston’s 40-man roster. The Astros claimed him off waivers from the Brewers shortly before the trade deadline. The 29-year-old didn’t pitch for Houston at the big league level. He was on optional assignment to Sugar Land, allowing eight runs in as many innings with eight walks and seven strikeouts.
The right-hander had far better strikeout and walk rates with Milwaukee’s top affiliate earlier in the year. He punched out almost 38% of batters faced while keeping his free passes below a 7% clip in 12 1/3 frames. Cousins had struggled in 9 1/3 MLB innings for the Brew Crew this year but was quite effective at the MLB level from 2021-22.
Over his first two seasons, Cousins pitched to a 2.70 ERA while fanning more than 35% of opposing hitters through 43 1/3 frames. A near-15% walk rate pointed to alarming control issues, but he showed rare ability to miss bats. Cousins clearly hasn’t found much rhythm this year, perhaps in part related to shoulder inflammation that sent him to the injured list for a month between June and July.
It’s the first outright for Cousins, who has less than three years of major league service. He doesn’t have the right to become a free agent. He’ll stick at Sugar Land and try to pitch his way back onto the roster by season’s end. Cousins would qualify for minor league free agency at the start of the offseason if Houston doesn’t reselect his contract.