December 5, 2008 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Round Rock Express
ROUND ROCK - The commute to work could soon get a little easier for Matt Kata.
The 30-year-old Ohio-native who now resides in Round Rock signed a minor league contract with the Houston Astros this week with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, making him eligible to start the season with either the Express or the Houston Astros.
A switch-hitting utility player, Kata has appeared in 838 Minor League and 238 Major League games since leaving Vanderbilt University in 1999. He spent the 2008 season with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians where he batted .245 with eight home runs, 18 doubles, 45 RBI and 50 runs.
"We're excited to have a Round Rock local like Matt representing the Astros organization," said Express founder and CEO Reid Ryan. "Matt has represented several organizations over the last 10 years, always playing the game like it should be played. Whether he lands here or in Houston, he's an excellent addition and exciting to watch."
Kata was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 9th round of the 1999 amateur draft. He spent his first two seasons as the primary shortstop for Single-A South Bend, driving in 122 runs and stealing 43 bases over the span.
In 2001 Kata made the move to second base with Single-A Lancaster where he batted .296 with 80 runs and 30 stolen bases before joining Double-A El Paso. A .298 batting average combined with a .974 fielding percentage at second base helped land him a spot with Triple-A Tucson in 2003.
After just 48 games at the Triple-A level, Kata moved up to the Major Leagues in June of 2003. He batted .257 with 29 RBI and 42 runs in 78 games while taking on duties at second base, third base and short stop.
Kata has appeared in parts of four Major League seasons with Arizona, Philadelphia, Texas and Pittsburgh. He is a lifetime .242 hitter in the Major Leagues and has appeared at eight different positions in his career, excluding catcher.