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04/09/08 11:30 PM ET

Quintero clears waivers with Astros

Catcher heading to Triple-A after stellar Spring Training

HOUSTON -- Catcher Humberto Quintero cleared waivers and has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, the Astros announced on Wednesday.

Quintero was designated for assignment on Opening Day and had to spend 10 days waiting for the Astros to either trade, release or reassign him to the Minor Leagues.

"We were happy to get him through waivers," general manager Ed Wade said. "He was disappointed from the standpoint of not getting a big league job, but I had a chance to talk to him this afternoon and impressed upon him that we're one mishap away from him being back in the big leagues.

"He needs to go down there and continue to work as hard as he did in Spring Training and during the offseason. We think he's a big league catcher. If the opportunity presents itself he'll be here."

Quintero, 28, lost 30 pounds during the offseason and was one of the Astros' most productive hitters during Spring Training this year. He hit .341 over 22 games, recording 11 RBIs.

Because he had been outrighted to the Minor Leagues once before, Quintero had the right to decline the reassignment and become a free agent. Had he done so, however, he would have forfeited his salary.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.