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06/06/08 11:35 PM ET

Astros waive veteran Cruz

Abercrombie to be called up to replace outfielder

HOUSTON -- When Jose Cruz Jr. made the Houston Astros roster in Spring Training, it was a dream come true for the veteran outfielder, who always wanted to play for the Astros as his father, Astros first-base coach Jose Cruz, had for so many years.

That dream ended on Friday night.

"We decided to ask waivers on Cheito Cruz Jr. for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release," Astros manager Cecil Cooper announced following Friday's game against St. Louis. "We're going to call up Reggie Abercrombie."

Cruz, 34, was batting .122 with one RBI and only one extra base hit in 49 at-bats.

"[The decision was] very difficult," Cooper said. "Jose and I go back a long ways, I have a lot of respect for him, a lot of respect for his family. Cheito's been a wonderful teammate. I know he's a real respectful young man. It just didn't work out for us.

"He had a great spring. You know he played hard and earned a job, but he had a tough job to fill this year being a bench player and I don't think he's done it that much and it was very difficult for him. He gave it his all. It just didn't work and this is a very difficult time for me because that's a great friendship."

Cruz Jr. had left when the Astros clubhouse opened following Cooper's postgame press conference.

Abercrombie was summoned from Triple-A Round Rock and will join the team in time for Saturday night's game against the Cardinals.

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