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Archive for Thursday, July 13, 2006

Astros acquire Rays’ Huff

July 13, 2006

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— 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 received 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 30-year-old Huff, who went to high school and junior college in Texas, hit .283 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs in 63 games for the Devil Rays this season. He hit safely in 20 of his last 23 games with Tampa Bay, batting .433 with 13 doubles, five homers and 16 RBIs during the stretch.

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.

Huff is Tampa Bay's career leader in games (798), at-bats (3,016), runs (399), hits (868), doubles (173), home runs (128), extra-base hits (307) and RBIs (449). He's hit 20 or more home runs four times and is one of five left-handed hitters - along with David Ortiz, Carlos Delgado, Hideki Matsui and Bobby Abreu - to average 100-plus RBIs the past three seasons.

Purpura said getting Huff was a "great first step" in making a push during the second half of the season.

"We're certainly within striking distance if we play better baseball," he said.

Houston, the reigning NL champions, is just 7-13 since June 18. But the Astros are coming out of the All-Star break in better shape than last year, when they were 44-43 and 111â4 games behind St. Louis.

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