Noel signed a minor-league contract with the Astros on Thursday, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. The Astros picked up Noel from the Independent League, where he was slashing .261/.363/.357 with 34 stolen bases in 56 games. He'll likely report to Double-A Corpus Christi or Triple-A Fresno where he'll serve as organizational depth.
Noel (oblique) is 8-for-37 (.216) with a double and four RBI through 10 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Noel missed the first portion of the season after recovering from an oblique injury, but he has recovered from that setback and is good to go moving forward. He will have to do a lot more hitting if he hopes to have a shot to reach the majors at some point this season.
Noel has a mild oblique strain and was therefore left off the preliminary Triple-A roster, the Los Angeles News Group's J.P. Hoornstra reports. The 27-year-old speedster will stick with Triple-A once he's healthy and could eventually join the Dodgers when rosters expand as a pinch runner.
Noel agreed to a minor league contract with the Dodgers on Wednesday, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports. Noel struggled mightily at the plate in the minors, but ended up earning a September promotion with the Yankees last season to be used almost exclusively as a pinch-runner. The 26-year-old has had as many as 90 steals in a season, but has never hit nearly consistently enough to carve out a full-time role in the majors.
Noel was outrighted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday. The 26-year-old seemed highly unlikely to maintain his 40-man roster spot through the offseason, having posted a .181/.302/.207 line between Double-A and Triple-A in 2015, and then serving almost exclusively as a pinch-runner after his September callup. Perhaps Noel will attend spring training as a non-roster invitee, but he seems destined to spend most of 2016 as organizational depth.