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Astros Get Huff to Help Offense

July 13, 2006|From the Associated Press

The Houston Astros acquired third baseman Aubrey Huff from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for two minor league prospects Wednesday, hoping Huff can help revive the Astros' struggling offense.

The Astros, who also got some cash in the deal, are tied for last in the National League in batting average.

"This will give us an offense boost which we sorely need," Astros General Manager Tim Purpura said.

The Astros also fired hitting coach Gary Gaetti.

Sean Berry, the Astros' minor league hitting coordinator, will serve as interim hitting coach.

In 63 games this season with the Devil Rays, Huff hit .283 with eight home runs and 28 runs batted in. In his sixth major league season, Huff has a career average of .287 with 128 home runs and 449 RBIs.

Houston will pay $1.4 million of the $3 million that remains on the final year of Huff's contract. Tampa Bay will pay the rest, Purpura said. The Devil Rays get right-hander Mitch Talbot and infielder Ben Zobrist from the Astros' system.

To make room for Huff, Houston will send outfielder Jason Lane to triple-A Round Rock. Lane has struggled with the Astros, batting .205 this season.

Purpura said Huff's arrival could also cut into the playing time of third baseman Morgan Ensberg, who has also struggled at the plate. Besides third base, Huff, 30, has also played first base and the outfield.


Chicago Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry denied that he said he would use the All-Star break to determine the future of Manager Dusty Baker.

"My stance has never changed," Hendry said. "Jim Hendry is operating under the same situation all along. There was never any comment by me that there would be a decision over the All-Star break.... Nothing has changed."


Television ratings for Tuesday night's All-Star game on the Fox network were up 15% over last season, the largest increase in 24 years.

The game had a 9.3 rating and 16 share with an average of 14.4 million viewers. Last year's game got an 8.1 rating and a 14 share.

The home run derby Monday night, televised by ESPN, had a 10% increase. The contest had a 5.4 rating compared to 4.9 last year.

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