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Astros sign reliever Cotts to Minors deal

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros will add another left-handed reliever to Spring Training after signing veteran Neal Cotts to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League camp, manager A.J. Hinch said Friday morning. Cotts is expected to arrive Saturday.

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, Cotts will earn $1.5 million if he lands on the Major League roster, plus $1.25 million in incentives. The reliever can request his release if he's not on the roster on March 26 or June 1.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros will add another left-handed reliever to Spring Training after signing veteran Neal Cotts to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League camp, manager A.J. Hinch said Friday morning. Cotts is expected to arrive Saturday.

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, Cotts will earn $1.5 million if he lands on the Major League roster, plus $1.25 million in incentives. The reliever can request his release if he's not on the roster on March 26 or June 1.

Cotts has spent 10 years in the Major Leagues with the White Sox, Cubs, Rangers, Twins and Brewers. The 35-year-old has 483 career appearances and has allowed 405 hits in 443 1/3 innings with a 3.96 ERA. He split last year between the Brewers and the Twins, appearing in 68 games.

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The Astros have been searching for more left-handed bullpen depth to join Tony Sipp, who signed a three-year, $18 million deal in December. Kevin Chapman and non-roster players Edwar Cabrera and Wandy Rodriguez are the other lefties in camp. Hinch has said he would like to have a second lefty in the 'pen, and Cotts gives him another viable option.

"There's a lot of Major League-quality free agents still on the market, and we felt it was an opportunity to add to our bullpen options," Hinch said. "We have a little bit of a shortage of left-handed relievers, depending on where Wandy fits in, Chapman and Cabrera. Adding another left-handed option with his experience will give us some choices at the end of camp.

"He's seasoned, he's been very good throughout his career and he offers us some versatility that we don't have a ton of. I talked to him on the phone last night, and I'm looking forward to introducing him into camp and getting him up and running. He's a veteran, he's been around and knows how to prepare himself. I don't worry about him being a few days late to camp, but it'll make our competition and our decision-making a little stronger."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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