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Astros tender contract offers to 3 players

Correa, Diaz and McCullers Jr. eligible for arbitration

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HOUSTON – The Houston Astros have tendered contracts to three arbitration-eligible players: shortstop Carlos Correa, infielder Aledmys Díaz, and right-handed pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. Additionally, the club has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with right-handed pitcher Austin Pruitt. The announcements were made by Astros General Manager James Click.

The deadline for Major League Baseball clubs to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players was 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Correa, 26, is eligible for arbitration for the third and final time. A Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalist in 2020, Correa shined defensively on the diamond by leading all MLB shortstops in fielding percentage (.995), and all American League shortstops in defensive runs saved (8). In the postseason, he hit .362 (17x47) with six home runs and 17 RBI, tying the second-most home runs and RBI recorded by a shortstop in a single postseason in Major League history. Selected by the Astros with the first-overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, Correa is entering his seventh Major League season with the Astros in 2021.

Díaz, 30, is eligible for arbitration for the second time in his career. The versatile infielder batted .241 (14x58) with three homers and six RBI in 17 regular-season games for the Astros in 2020, before going on to hit .353 (6x17) with one homer and two RBI in eight postseason games. A career .273 (377x1380) hitter in the Majors, Díaz will begin his sixth MLB season in 2021, and his third with Houston after the club acquired him from Toronto in exchange for right-handed pitcher Trent Thornton on Nov. 17, 2018.

McCullers, 27, is eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time. In 2020, McCullers made a successful return from Tommy John surgery by posting a 3-3 record with a 3.93 ERA (24ER/55IP) and 56 strikeouts in 11 regular season starts. He then made three starts for the Astros during the 2020 postseason, starting Game 1 of the ALDS at OAK, and Games 2 and 7 of the ALCS at TB. Selected by the Astros with the 41st overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, McCullers will pitch in his sixth Major League season with Houston in 2021.

Pruitt, 31, was acquired by the Astros from Tampa Bay on Jan. 9, in exchange for two prospects, right-handed pitcher Peyton Battenfield and outfielder Cal Stevenson. Pruitt, a Houston native who has pitched in parts of three MLB seasons, did not pitch in the Majors in 2020 due to a right elbow injury. He underwent surgery to repair a hairline fracture in September and is expected to be ready to pitch early in the 2021 regular season.