Astros Sign Benitez To Minor League Deal

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HOUSTON (AP) - Former big league closer Armando Benitez and the Houston Astros have agreed to a minor league contract.

The 36-year-old Benitez, a major league All-Star in 2003 and 2004, was pitching for the Newark Bears in the independent Atlantic League. He was 1-0 with 16 saves and a 2.86 ERA in 34 relief outings for a team managed by former big league star Tim Raines.

Benitez, who had 43 strikeouts in 34 2-3 innings with Newark, will report to Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday.