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01/09/2006 1:34 PM ET
Astros sign Miller to one-year contract
Veteran lefty joins Houston bullpen; club invites three to Spring Training
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HOUSTON - The Houston Astros announced today that the club has signed free-agent left-handed reliever Trever Miller to a one-year, $1.3-million contract. The deal includes a one-year vesting option. The announcement was made by General Manager Tim Purpura.

The club also announced that it has signed left-handed pitcher Carlos Hernandez and catcher Alan Zinter to minor league contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training. In addition, the Astros have invited minor league right-handed pitcher Jared Gothreaux to Major League Spring Training.

Miller, 32, was 2-2 with a 4.06 ERA (20ER/44.1IP) in 61 games for Tampa Bay in 2005. The 61 appearances marked the second-highest total of his career, and he did not allow a run in his last eight outings of the season. He also spent the 2004 season with the Devil Rays and finished 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA (17ER/49IP) in 60 appearances, including one save.

Miller pitched for the Astros from 1998-99, when he was a combined 5-2 with a 4.02 ERA (46ER/103IP) in 84 games over the two-season span, including two saves.

In seven Major League seasons, including stints with Detroit (1996), Houston (1998-99), Philadelphia (2000), the Los Angeles Dodgers (2000), Toronto (2003), and Tampa Bay (2004-05), Miller is 10-11 with a 4.66 ERA (146ER/282IP) in 305 career appearances, including six saves.

Hernandez, 25, was 5-8 with a 5.56 ERA (55ER/89IP) in 21 starts for Triple A Round Rock in 2005, including 66 strikeouts and 54 walks. He appeared in a combined 35 big league games (33 starts) for Astros over the 2001, 2002, and 2004 seasons, posting a 9-8 record with a 4.54 ERA (86ER/170.2IP). His last big league season was 2004, when he went 1-3 with a 6.43 ERA (30ER/42IP) in nine starts.

Zinter, 37, has hit .167 (13x78) in 67 career big league games with Houston (2002) and Arizona (2004). He spent the last two seasons in the Arizona organization and hit .216 (24x111) with two home runs and 14 RBI in 47 games for Triple A Tucson in 2005. Zinter made his Major League debut with the Astros in 2002, which was his 14th professional season. He hit .136 (6x44) with two home runs and three RBI for Houston that season. His other Major League action was with the Diamondbacks in 2004, when he hit .206 (7x34) with one home run and six RBI.

Gothreaux, who turns 26 on Jan. 27, was 3-8 with a 4.29 ERA (41ER/86IP) in 15 starts for Triple A Round Rock in 2005. He was a member of the Astros' 40-man roster in 2005 but was outrighted from the 40-man to the Express on Nov. 16, 2005.

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