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Astros acquire prospects for Pudge

Trio of Minor Leaguers received in deal with Rangers

By Jason Grodsky / MLB.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 6:15 PM CT

Ivan Rodriguez hit .297 with 16 homers and 85 RBIs with the Marlins in 2003. HOUSTON -- The Astros acquired right-hander Matt Nevarez and two players to be named from the Texas Rangers for 14-time All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez on Tuesday.

General manager Ed Wade made the announcement prior to the Astros' series opener with the Florida Marlins at Minute Maid Park.

"It was a pleasure to be a part of Pudge's Hall of Fame career," Wade said. "He did an outstanding job for us, and we certainly appreciate what he did for us. But at the same time, the fact that we were able to get some pretty good young players in this deal was significant enough for us to move forward."

Nevarez, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound flamethrower, had a 2.83 ERA and nine saves with 50 strikeouts over 34 relief appearances for Class A Hickory. The 22-year-old has allowed 22 hits in 35 innings of work and has struck out 126 batters in 107 1/3 career innings at the Minor League level.

"We like Nevarez a lot," Wade said. "He's a 22-year-old kid with a really good arm that has a chance to pitch in the back of the bullpen in a couple of years. The total return on this deal we believe will make a lot of sense once we are able to bring it to closure."

The Astros recalled infielder Edwin Maysonet from Triple-A Round Rock to replace Rodriguez on the roster. Humberto Quintero and Chris Coste will split time behind the plate.

"I think we have two very capable catchers, maybe not of [Ivan Rodriguez's] caliber, but still very capable, and they will get a chance to play," manager Cecil Cooper said. "They can handle the job defensively, and Coste has been a very good offensive player since he's been here. I think Quintero will be able to add something to our offense too, he's done a pretty good job to this day."

This will be Maysonet's third stint with the Astros this season. He hit .309 with a home run and seven RBIs in 20 games in two previous stints with the club. He has batted .235 with a home run and 14 RBIs in 59 games at Round Rock.

The Astros said they would continue to monitor the progress of catcher J.R. Towles at Round Rock, and he could be a candidate to be called up once the roster expands to 40 on Sept. 1.

Houston signed Rodriguez, 37, to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million on March 20, 2009. He hit .251 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs in 93 games and 344 plate appearances for the Astros.

Wade said the Rangers had expressed interest in Rodriguez on Friday and a deal may have been struck earlier, but the clubs had to wait to see if Rodriguez would wave his no-trade clause.

"I'm feeling great, feeling good," Rodriguez said. "It's nice to be back to the place that I started. It's nice to be back there. It's also sad. I think Houston is a great team and a good group of guys. The fans are great, but business is business."

Rodriguez originally signed with the Rangers and played for them from 1991-2002 before leaving as a free agent. He was a 10-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove Award winner with the Rangers, their starting catcher on three division championship teams and the 1999 American League Most Valuable Player.

"It was great to have Pudge as a teammate," outfielder Hunter Pence said. "I looked up to him. He was an incredible player and probably one of the best catchers to play the game if not the best. It's sad and I wish him well and the best, but that's nothing I'm in control of and I just deal with whoever my teammates are right now and go out and try to win."

Jason Grodsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.