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Gutierrez, Ransom, Patton reassigned

Gutierrez, Ransom, Patton reassigned

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros made three cuts on Thursday, optioning right-handed pitcher Juan Gutierrez to Triple-A Round Rock while reassigning infielder Cody Ransom and left-handed pitcher Troy Patton to Minor League camp.

Patton made one final big league appearance against the Marlins that afternoon before packing up to move to the Minor League complex. The lefty knew for a couple of days that he was going to be cut, so the postgame conversation with manager Phil Garner was no big surprise.

"This is what I knew would happen the whole time," Patton said. "Even going on the mound today, I knew after I was done, I was done with big league camp. I'm not upset at all. I'm actually looking forward to getting to throw three and four innings at a time. It's where I can get my comfort level back up on the mound."

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Patton made three relief appearances during Grapefruit League action, totalling three innings. He did not allow a run.

"He throws strikes," Garner said. "He can get the ball down in the zone. The one hit that he gave up [Thursday] that was off his fastball was down and in a good location. You keep throwing the ball down, you're going to get a lot of outs. I like what we're seeing with him.

"It's way too soon to start saying a lot of stuff. I like his arm. He's still in the developmental process."

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Gutierrez, one of the club's top pitching prospects, will be a starter in Triple-A Round Rock's rotation this year, but he could be a bullpen candidate for the Astros at some point this season. The 23-year-old caught Garner's eye during the Nolan Ryan Elite Camp in early February and continued to impress the skipper throughout Spring Training.

Gutierrez allowed six runs over six innings, spanning four exhibition relief appearances.

"We're so excited about the progress that Gutierrez is making," Garner said. "I've been saying since the mini-camp that we're so excited about some of our young stable of arms, and Gutierrez is right there.

"I like his attitude. He's a kid that walks around with a big smile on his face, but when he gets on the mound, he's a tough guy. He can pitch."

Ransom, a non-roster invitee, was reassigned to Minor League camp. The 31-year-old could also serve as insurance in case the Astros are short an infielder this season due to injury.

"He's a guy who plays very well defensively," Garner said. "He's got good speed, good arm, good glove, good hands. And he looks like he's picking things up offensively and if he does start making better contact, then he's got a chance of being a guy who can help us."

Ransom hit .300 in 14 spring games, logging six hits in 20 bat-bats.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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