HOUSTON -- Right-hander Chase De Jong, who appeared in seven games for the Mariners in 2017 and five for the Twins from 2018-19, said Monday he had agreed to a deal with the Astros, pending a physical and COVID-19 test. De Jong would report to the alternate training site in Corpus Christi, Texas, to give the Astros more depth.
The club has not confirmed the deal.
De Jong, 26, has been playing for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters and he was teammates with veteran right-hander Fernando Rodney, who signed with the Astros last week and reported to Corpus Christi. The Astros’ pitching staff has been rocked by injuries to start the year and the team is in search of healthy arms.
De Jong said he threw a weighted ball during the coronavirus shutdown and saw a spike in velocity, going from 88-91 mph with his fastball to 92-94 mph as a starter. He said he’s learned to use his lower half more efficiently, too. The average velocity on his four-seamer in 2018 with the Twins was 89.2 mph.
“Before the beginning of the season, I got rid of all my social media apps and really focused on me and my career and just getting back to kind of being a real good pitcher again,” he said.
De Jong, a second-round pick in the 2012 Draft by the Blue Jays, started five games for the Skeeters and posted a 3.19 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 17 innings pitched. He appeared in one game for the Twins last year, while also going 0-5 with a 10.52 ERA in 13 games (10 starts) with Triple-A Rochester.