Astros acquire Huff from Devil Rays
HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros announced today that they have acquired outfielder Aubrey Huff and $1.625 million in cash considerations from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Mitch Talbot and minor league infielder Ben Zobrist. In addition, the Astros have optioned outfielder Jason Lane to Triple-A Round Rock and designated minor league infielder Joe McEwing for assignment. The announcement was made by General Manager Tim Purpura.
Huff, 30, was batting .283 (65x230) with eight home runs, 15 doubles and 28 RBI in 63 games for the Devil Rays this season. He batted .453 (29x64) in Interleague play this year, the second-best mark in the Majors. He hit .359 (33x92) in June, and on June 30, he became the first Devil Ray to reach 300 extra base hits. Huff spent 21 days on the Disabled List from April 12-May 4, his first career trip to the DL, with a strained left knee. He is batting .293 (61x208) with eight homers and 27 RBI since his return.
Currently in his sixth big league season, Huff is batting .287 (870x3028) during his career with 128 home runs and 449 RBI. He is Tampa Bay's all-time leader in games (799), at-bats (3,028), runs (400), hits (870), doubles (172), home runs (128), extra-base hits (309), and RBI (449). He made his big league debut with the Devil Rays in 2000 and is the only player in Rays history to reach the 20-home run mark in four seasons (2002-05). Huff is one of five left-handed hitters to average 100-plus RBI the past three seasons, joining David Ortiz, Carlos Delgado, Hideki Matsui and Bobby Abreu. He is a career .303 (436x1437) hitter after the All-Star break with 71 home runs and 239 RBI.
Huff was Tampa Bay's fifth-round selection in the June 1998 draft out of the University of Miami. He attended Vernon College in North Texas and played both baseball and basketball at Brewer High School in Fort Worth.
Lane, 29, is batting .205 (46x224) for the Astros this season with 11 home runs, 30 RBI and 40 walks. He made his Major League debut in 2002 and this year marked his third consecutive on the Astros Opening Day roster. He is hitting .256 (249x973) with 49 home runs and 147 RBI for his career.
Talbot, 22, is in his fourth professional season after being selected by Houston in the second round of the June 2002 draft. He is 6-4 with a 3.39 ERA (34ER/90.1IP) in 18 appearances (17 starts) for Double A Corpus Christi this season. He ranks seventh in the Texas League in ERA and third with 96 strikeouts.
Zobrist, 25, was selected by the Astros in the sixth round of the June 2004 draft. He is batting .327 (103x315) for Corpus Christi this year with three home runs, 25 doubles, six triples, and 30 RBI. He ranks second in the Texas League in batting this season. Zobrist was named a Texas League All-Star last month, and he has earned All-Star honors in each of his professional seasons.
McEwing, 33, is batting .274 (64x234) with five home runs and 28 RBI in 64 games at Triple A Round Rock this season. He was acquired by the Houston organization from Kansas City on March 30 and played in seven games for the Astros.
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