KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Houston Astros might have found their shortstop.
A few hours after signing a one-year contract Sunday, Ronny Cedeno tripled for the Astros in a 4-1 win over the Miami Marlins that was shortened to 4 1/2 innings because of rain.As they signed the 30-year-old Cedeno, the Astros informed shortstop Tyler Greene that he will not make the opening-day roster. That left Cedeno and 23-year-old Marwin Gonzalez to compete."It's an opportunity at shortstop in this organization, and someone is going to have to prove to the staff that they deserve to play every day," Houston manager Bo Porter said.An eight-year veteran, Cedeno hit .259 in 78 games for the New York Mets last season. He was released March 19 by the St. Louis Cardinals, who opted to give him $282,787 in termination pay rather than keep his $1.15 million contract, which was not guaranteed.Cedeno met with Porter early Sunday."He told me about what a great opportunity this is, and it's going to be up to me how much I'm going to play," Cedeno said. "He told me he watched me play when he was with Washington and he liked me. So now I'm very excited about this opportunity here. We've got a lot of young guys, a great group."General manager Jeff Luhnow called Cedeno a "veteran player at a position that will stabilize our infield."After the trade of Jed Lowrie to Oakland on Feb. 4, the Astros brought Greene and Gonzalez to spring training to compete for the shortstop job. Greene hit .167 in 42 at-bats and Gonzalez has played in only 80 big league games."This guy's been around major league baseball for a long time; he's a veteran guy," Porter said. "One of the reasons there was interest on our part was an interest on his part. We wanted to let him know that this is an opportunity, but he's going to have to earn his playing time."Cedeno went 1 for 2 in his Astros debut, grounding into a forceout in the second inning and tripling to right in the fourth against Jacob Turner."We've got a lot of energy in here, and it can wake up my energy again," he said. "Sometimes when you get a little older, you lose energy a little bit, but I like to be around young guys."Brett Wallace hit his third homer for the Astros, a two-run drive in the third.Houston minor leaguer David Martinez allowed one run and eight hits in four innings. Turner gave up four runs, five hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings.Miami's Greg Dobbs was 3 for 3 with a pair of doubles.
The Astros optioned J.D. Martinez, their opening day left fielder a year ago, and reassigned catcher Jason Jaramillo, leaving 34 players in camp, including 16 pitchers. ... Greene would have to clear waivers before he can be sent to the minors by the Astros.