HOUSTON -- The Astros made it official by announcing Wednesday they had signed veteran outfielder Jack Cust to a one-year, $600,000 deal, with an option for 2013.
Cust, 33, appeared in 67 games in 2011 before being cut loose by the Mariners in July, batting .213 with three homers and 23 RBIs. He spent the previous four seasons with the A's, hitting 97 homers and driving in 281 runs. He's played primarily left field, right field and designated hitter in his career.
Houston will have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to make room for Cust.
The addition of Cust likely puts him in the mix to start in right field in an increasingly crowded group that includes Brian Bogusevic, Jason Bourgeois, J.B. Shuck and Francisco Martinez, the former top prospect of the Mets who was claimed off waivers last week.
Cust could certainly fulfill the Astros' need for a designated hitter if he returns to the club in 2013 -- the first year the Astros will compete in the American League. He led the AL in walks in '08.
For his career, Cust has an on-base percentage of .374, which includes .344 last year with Seattle.