Joe Thatcher RP HOU 1 Hr

Thatcher will compete with Darin Downs and Kevin Chapman this spring as the Astros' second left-hander out of the bullpen behind Tony Sipp.

Thatcher, who signed a minor league deal with the Astros this winter, is the favorite of the three candidates to break camp with the team. Chapman is already on Houston's 40-man roster with minor league options remaining and Downs (not on the 40-man) is less likely to be snatched up by another team if he doesn't make the Opening Day roster. Spring performance will ultimately determine who wins this competition, but Thatcher has an apparent leg up and is further boosted by a strong track record (career 3.40 ERA) as an eight-year veteran in the league.

Joe Thatcher RP HOU 20 Days

Thatcher has signed a minor league deal with the Astros, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports.Thatcher has more than a million dollars laid out in incentives and an opt-out five days before Opening Day, Cotillo also reports. The Astros have been making an effort to reinforce their bullpen now that they're trying to contend, so Thatcher could have a shot.

Joe Thatcher RP HOU 5 Months

Thatcher was not included on the Angels' ALDS roster, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports.

A trade acquisition from the Diamondbacks in early July, Thatcher went on to post an 8.53 ERA and 2.21 WHIP in 16 appearances (6.1 innings) with the Angels. He had a 2.63 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 37 appearances (24 innings) prior to being dealt. Vinnie Pestano was chosen to fill the final bullpen spot.

Joe Thatcher RP HOU 6 Months

Thatcher was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list Friday.

Thatcher will add another arm to the Angels bullpen for the remainder of the season, and he could extend that into the postseason with a good showing in September.

Joe Thatcher RP HOU 6 Months

Thatcher (ankle) will meet with the Angels on Tuesday to be evaluated. The outcome will result in him either being activate or throwing a simulated game, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.

Thatcher will join the Angels' bullpen if he's activated, or will need to throw a simulated game in preparation for activation at a later point. The veteran pitcher will also provide some added experience to the bullpen, and could be a candidate to stay on the team for the postseason.

Joe Thatcher RP HOU 6 Months

Thatcher (ankle) allowed two runs on two hits in an inning pitched for Double-A Arkansas on Sunday.

Thatcher pitched in a live game for the first time since Aug. 2. According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, manager Mike Scioscia said that the length of Thatcher's rehab stint will be determined by how he looks on the mound, and how he feels after each outing.

Joe Thatcher RP HOU 6 Months

Thatcher (left ankle sprain) felt good during drills Friday and is expected to pitch in a minor league playoff game Sunday, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports.

Assuming everything goes as planned for Thatcher, he could be pitching out of the Angels' bullpen in a setup role again relatively soon.

Joe Thatcher RP HOU 6 Months

Thatcher (ankle) faced hitters in the batting cage Thursday, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.

Thatcher was pleased with how the session went and will attempt to take part in some fielding drills Friday. The Angels believe the lefty should be available out of the bullpen in the coming days, but it's too early to say for certain when he might be activated.

Joe Thatcher RP HOU 6 Months

Thatcher (ankle) has started running and hopes to start throwing off a mound Saturday, but he is still at least two weeks away from returning to the Angels' bullpen, the Los Angeles Times' Mike DiGiovanna reports.

He is dealing with a ligament sprain, and while a return in mid-September is possible, he won't offer much fantasy value as a middle reliever in the Angels' bullpen.

Joe Thatcher RP HOU 7 Months

Thatcher (ankle) is doing some light throwing off a mound in Arizona, but is "not close" to a return, according to manager Mike Scioscia, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports.

The ligament sprain is expected to keep him out until at least early-September, but as a middle reliever, he offers little fantasy value, especially after the Angels bolstered the bullpen prior to the trade deadline.