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10/30/09 3:50 PM ET

Astros decline Brocail's option for 2010

Veteran reliever to test the waters of free agency

HOUSTON -- Veteran relief pitcher Doug Brocail isn't quite ready to call it a career, but his time with the Astros is over.

Astros general manager Ed Wade said Friday the club wouldn't pick up Brocail's $2.85 million option for 2010 and would instead pay him a $250,000 buyout. Brocail, who pitched in only 20 games this season because of three trips to the disabled list, becomes a free agent.

"I've got great respect for Doug," Wade said. "He's a tremendous competitor and has great makeup. I talked to him this morning to tell him we're not going to exercise his option and he was very professional about it. At this point in time, it behooves us to give some of these young relievers a greater chance to be with us for the coming season.

"I don't envision us heading back in that direction from a playing standpoint [with Brocail], but we did talk about the potential of staying involved in the organization in player development, and [assistant general manager] Ricky [Bennett] is going to have conversations on that."

Brocail, 42, said he would have to talk to his family about his future.

"It's one of those things I will talk over with the powers that be and see what they have to say," said Brocail, who lives in the Houston area with his wife and five daughters. "I won't rule it out. As of right now, I'm just trying to heal up and see how I'm going to feel over the next two or three months."

Brocail has been on the disabled list 15 times in his career, including three times this year. He missed 14 games early in the season with a rotator cuff strain, 75 games in the middle of the season with a right calf strain and 24 games in August with a right shoulder strain.

In 626 career Major League games, he is 52-48 with a 4.00 ERA and nine saves for San Diego (1992-94, 2006-07), Houston (1995-96, 2008-09), Detroit (1997-2000) and Texas (2004-05). He was 1-0 with a 4.58 ERA this year.

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