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Astros sign five to Minor League contracts
01/05/2009 4:01 PM ET
HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros announced Monday that the club has signed five players to Minor League contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training: outfielders Reggie Abercrombie and John Gall, right-handed pitcher Clay Hensley and infielders Mark Saccomanno and Jason Smith. The announcement was made by general manager Ed Wade.

Abercrombie, 27, hit a career-high .309 (17 for 55) with five doubles, two homers and five RBIs in 34 games with Houston in 2008. In three Major League seasons with Florida ('06-'07) and Houston ('08), Abercrombie hit .223 (86 for 386) with nine homers and 34 RBIs in 180 games.

Gall, 30, hit .312 (112 for 359) with 29 doubles, 12 home runs and 76 RBIs in 98 games for Triple-A Albuquerque of the Marlins organization last season. The Pacific Coast League All-Star is hitting .306 (22 for 72) with 10 RBIs in 19 games for Tomateros de Culiacan in the Mexican Winter League. Gall was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 11th round of the June 2000 draft and in 33 Major League games for the Cardinals ('05-'06) and Marlins ('07), has hit .245 (13 for 53) with two homers and 11 RBIs.

Hensley, 29, went 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA in 32 games (one start) for San Diego in 2008. In 16 appearances for Triple-A Portland last season, Hensley went 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA, 34 strikeouts and 16 walks. He is 15-18 with a 4.09 career ERA in 106 Major League games, including 40 starts, from '05-'08 for the Padres. Hensley resides in Pearland, Texas.

Saccomanno, 28, hit .200 in 10 appearances for the Astros in 2008, including his first Major League home run in his first Major League at-bat on September 8 against Pittsburgh. He became the fourth player in franchise history to homer in their first MLB plate appearance. The infielder hit .297 with 27 homers, 33 doubles and 84 RBIs in 137 games for Triple-A Round Rock last season and was named a PCL All-Star and team MVP after leading the Express in home runs, games, doubles and runs scored (83).

Smith, 31, hit .214 with two doubles and one RBI in 22 games for the Royals last season. The infielder started the season at Triple-A and in 110 games for Omaha, he hit .253 with 20 doubles, seven triples and 62 RBIs. The Triple-A All-Star also led the team with 20 homers at the time his contract was purchased by Kansas City. In 257 career Major League games with the Chicago Cubs (2001), Tampa Bay ('02-'03), Detroit ('04-'05), Colorado ('06), Toronto ('07), Arizona ('07) and Kansas City ('07-'08), Smith has hit .221 with 15 doubles, 10 triples, 17 home runs and 59 RBIs.

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