Marte signed a contract with the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan on Thursday, The Japan Times reports. Marte was designated for assignment by the Angels in November and elected free agency after spending the last two years in Los Angeles. The 27-year-old slashed .216/.273/.371 with seven home runs in 209 plate appearances in 2018, and will now test his luck overseas.
Marte was outrighted from the Angels' 40-man roster Friday. In order to free up some room for their younger prospects, the Angels elected to cast Marte, Eduardo Paredes, Odrisamer Despaigne, Deck McGuire and Francisco Arcia from the 40-man roster. In 90 games for the big-league club in 2018, Marte slashed .216/.273/.371 with seven home runs and 22 RBI.
Marte went 1-for-3 with a walk, a home run and a pair of runs scored in Monday's extra-innings win over Texas. Marte got a rare start against a right-handed starter and went yard for the sixth time this season. The 27-year-old started at first base with Jose Miguel Fernandez sliding over to cover second, a situation that could continue if Andrelton Simmons (knee) is forced to miss additional time. Marte is slashing .214/.265/.353 over 200 plate appearances this year.
Marte homered in his lone at-bat in Tuesday's loss to Arizona. The emergence of Taylor Ward at third base and the healthy combination of Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani as the Angels' primary first base and designated hitter options have limited Marte to a bench role in August. The 27-year-old hasn't helped his case for playing time, slashing just .214/.257/.371 over 148 plate appearances this season.
Marte will start at first base and bat eighth Sunday against the Mariners, Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register reports. Marte has seen his opportunities tail off since Albert Pujols returned from the 10-day disabled list July 23, as he'll pick up just his second start in seven games. He'll be entering the lineup Sunday with Shohei Ohtani taking a seat with a lefty (Marco Gonzales) twirling for the Mariners.