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Astros ink Fernandez

Dec. 23, 2002 at 2:05 PM   |   Comments

HOUSTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The Houston Astros have signed veteran righthander Jared Fernandez to a minor league contract.

Fernandez, 30, a knuckleball specialist, made a big splash in July, when he got his first major league victory. Ironically, he beat the Astros while pitching for Cincinnati.

In the Reds' 8-3 win, Fernandez walked two and fanned eight over seven innings, throwing 126 pitches, including more than 100 knuckleballs.

"That's the best knuckleballer I've ever faced, because he controlled it," Astros slugger Lance Berkman said afterwards according to MLB.com, baseball's official website. "Most knuckleballers just throw it toward the middle of the plate and hope it moves. He was throwing the ball in and out with command and that makes it even more difficult, when a guy's able to throw his knuckleball to either side of the plate."

Fernandez's win in Houston ended up being his lone Major League victory. He split the 2002 season between Cincinnati and Triple-A Louisville, compiling a big-league record of 1-4 with a 4.43 ERA over 19 games, including 10 starts. At Louisville, he was 12-5 with a 3.93 ERA.

Cincinnati released Fernandez on Dec. 15, ending his two-year tenure with the Reds organization.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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