The Houston Astros have added to the competition for a roster spot at third base next year, claiming Brandon Laird off waivers. Previously, with Brett Wallace settling in at first, the options had basically been Matt Dominguez or a free agent, but general manager Jeff Luhnow found a way to add a bat still just 24 with a waiver claim from the Yankees.
That's the long term. In the short term, Laird will see some time at third base, first base and the outfield in the final month of the season. Laird joined the Astros before Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Reds, but it will still be Dominguez for the very near future.
"He's been out of baseball for about 10 days now, getting some work in, so it will take him a few days to get back in shape," manager Tony DeFrancesco said. "By midweek we'll get him in a game."
Laird was placed on waivers in a Yankees roster squeeze, but general manager Jeff Luhnow still thinks there's prospect potential. He's still just 24 and despite never having outstanding numbers in Triple-A, he hit 15 home runs there this season.
"We feel like he's got enough position with the bat where he can play third, he can play first and play a little bit of outfield," Luhnow said. "It's a right-handed power bat that in this stadium could end up being an important piece of the puzzle for us."
Laird said he was pleased with the chance to come to a rebuilding Astros team that has given young players plenty of opportunities.
"You're just waiting for the call, and things didn't go the way I wanted in New York," he said after being designated for assignment. "I was patient, waited, and my agent said teams liked me and the Astros took me, and I'm excited to be here and get a chance to see what I can do."