Garneau cleared outright waivers and elected free agency Friday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.comreports. Garneau didn't do much in 46 plate appearances as the Astros' backup catcher, hitting just .158/.273/.289. He'll likely be looking to land somewhere on a minor-league deal as a team's third catcher, given that he owns a 61 wRC+ in parts of six big-league campaigns.
Garneau went 1-for-2 with a solo home run and a second run scored in the nightcap of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Angels. The Astros split up the catching duties for the doubleheader, as Martin Maldonado caught the first game. Garneau's home run was his first of the season, and his appearance was just the ninth in 31 games.
Garneau is projected to be the Astros' backup catcher, per Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. Garneau, who is in a battle with Garret Stubbs to back up Martin Maldonado, has about a half-season's worth of plate appearances in the majors over a five-year span. He has an experience advantage, but Stubbs has organizational familiarity, having been with the Astros since 2015. They've each appeared in 10 spring games, but the 26-year-old Stubbs has outperformed the 32-year-old Garneau at the dish. There's a chance both players land a roster spot, as Stubbs can serve as the third catcher and play some outfield.
Garneau is a candidate to be called up from Triple-A Las Vegas when rosters expand Sunday, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports. The veteran was just outrighted to the Aviators on Aug. 19 after slashing .294/.368/.588 with one home run and seven RBI over seven games with the Athletics during Josh Phegley's time on the shelf with a thumb injury. The other candidate for the third catcher spot once rosters expand is hot-hitting prospect Sean Murphy, so a potential callup for Garneau remains firmly up in the air at this point. "You have to balance where Sean is after his injuries and how much he could potentially play," manager Bob Melvin said. "You have a guy like Dustin who is used to not playing and could fulfill that role. There will be a lot of talk leading up into Sunday on who that will be."
Garneau was sent outright to Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday. Garneau will join Oakland's Triple-A affiliate after being designated for assignment by the Athletics and subsequently going unclaimed on waivers. The backstop appeared in seven games with the A's, slashing .294/.368/.588 with one home run and seven RBI.
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