Astros sign A’s castoff Landon Powell to minor league deal

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Released by the A’s last week, Landon Powell has signed with the Astros on a minor-league contract.

Houston was in the market for some catching depth because of Humberto Quintero’s back problems, although with Jason Castro coming back from a lost season and veteran Chris Snyder signed as a free agent odds are Powell will be beginning the season at Triple-A.

Powell and Oakland avoided arbitration with a one-year, $620,000 contract in December, but because the deal was non-guaranteed the A’s were able to cut him loose while being on the hook for just $100,000.

He’s a former first-round pick, but Powell is now 30 years old and has hit just .207 with a .612 OPS in 123 games as a big leaguer.

Rangers activate Elvis Andrus from disabled list

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The Rangers made a handful of roster moves on Monday, per the club’s executive VP of communications John Blake. Shortstop Elvis Andrus has been activated from the 60-day disabled list, pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. Catcher Jose Trevino was optioned to Double-A Frisco. And yesterday, outfielder Ryan Rua was optioned to Round Rock.

The big news, of course, is the return of Andrus. He missed over two months of action after suffering a fractured right elbow on April 11 when he was hit by a 97 MPH fastball. Andrus had gotten off to a good start, batting .327/.426/.500 in 61 plate appearances.

Jurickson Profar handled shortstop while Andrus was out and did an adequate job. While his defense was subpar according to the metrics, he hit .243/.315/.456 across 267 trips to the plate. With Andrus back, Profar will likely slide back into a utility role for the Rangers.