By Mark Mitchell
Jack Cust wants to be a complete baseball player. After spending the last five years as a designated hitter in the American League, he looks forward to "throwing leather" and running around with his teammates.
"It is exciting for me to play both sides of the ball," said Cust. "Sometimes when you are just hitting, you don't feel like much of a baseball player."
Signed as a free agent by the Houston Astros, Cust looks to show he is more than a DH. More importantly, he needs to convince manager Brad Mills that last year's power outage was a fluke. After hitting 97 of his 105 career home runs in four seasons with Oakland from 2007-10, he hit only three last year before being released by the Seattle Mariners.
A career .242 hitter, combining power with an ability to draw walks -- his 309 base on balls from 2007-09 were the most in the AL -- makes Cust an attractive option in the outfield. However, without home runs, his propensity for striking out...