After seeming like a modest offseason addition to deepen the Astros’ lineup, Nori Aoki has proven more capable than a platoon player and more productive than a bottom-of-the-order hitter through for the Astros.
The 35-year-old left-hander is (.364), with one home run and a smattering of singles. He made his most prominent contributions during the last two games, a pair of comeback victories over the Oakland Athletics.
“His strength’s really fits his spot on our team,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He can be a catalyst at the bottom of the lineup and when he gets on base he can create a lot of havoc for us in front of the top of our order.”
A Japanese outfielder who often utilizes a translator in the clubhouse for media and the dugout for teammates, Aoki has revealed more of his personality, too.
Batting in the No. 8 slot, Aoki led off the fifth inning on Friday with his first home run of the season. After the ball plunked into empty right field seats at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Aoki rounded third with a wide grin.