HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros have claimed outfielder Nori Aoki off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. The announcement was made by Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow.
Aoki, 34, hit .283 (118x417) with 24 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 28 RBI and a .349 on-base percentage in 118 games with the Mariners last season. He played primarily left field (88 starts) in 2016, but did make 14 starts in center, and ranked second among American League outfielders in fielding percentage (.995, 1ER/194TC). The left-handed hitter also finished among the Major League leaders in plate appearances per strikeout (min. 450 PAs) with a 10.38 ratio, trailing only Andrelton Simmons (12.71) and Joe Panik (11.19). Since arriving in the Major Leagues in 2012, Aoki's 12.48 PA/K rate is tops among all hitters in that span.
A native of Hyuga, Japan, Aoki has played in parts of five seasons (2012-16) in the Major Leagues and owns a .286 (681x649) batting average and a .353 OBP in 649 career games. His Major League experience followed a highly-successful career in Japan's Central League, in which he played parts of eight seasons (2004-11) with Yakult. His best season came in 2010, as he led the JCL in batting average (.358), while ranking second in hits (209), doubles (44) and OBP (.435).
Following the Aoki move and with the Astros four eligible free agents (Jason Castro, Doug Fister, Colby Rasmus, Luis Valbuena) being officially removed from the roster today, the Astros 40-man roster now stands at 37.