The move reduces Houston's 40-man roster to 36 and makes Gervacio a free agent and able to sign with any team, but general manager Ed Wade said the club will attempt to re-sign him at some point. The shoulder ailments limited the side-armed Gervacio to just 13 combined relief appearances last season between Triple-A Round Rock and the Astros.
"It's really a move of economics more than anything because of the uncertainty of his status going into Spring Training," Wade said. "Had he been injured coming into Spring Training and unable to perform, we would have had to carry him on the Major League disabled list.
"While we're protecting ourselves with respect to the tender, we still want Sammy to be part of our picture going forward."
Gervacio, who went 1-1 with a 2.14 ERA in 29 games in his Major League debut in 2009, is still dealing with shoulder discomfort despite not pitching in a game since May 3. He made $403,000 last season, which is slightly above the league minimum.
"We're going to have to be cautious how we bring him along," Wade said.
Wade said the club never entertained the possibility of non-tendering pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Matt Lindstrom, infielders Clint Barmes and Jeff Keppinger and outfielders Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence, all of whom are arbitration-eligible and figure to play a key role in 2011.
"All of those players have value and will be counted on in some fashion going forward," Wade said.
Keppinger ($1.15 million salary in 2010), Bourn ($2.4 million), Pence ($3.5 million) and Lindstrom ($1.625 million) are in their second year of arbitration eligibility and Rodriguez ($5 million) and Barmes ($3.25 million) are in their third and final year.
Earlier this week, the Astros agreed to terms on one-year contracts with right-hander Nelson Figueroa ($900,000) and catcher Humberto Quintero ($1 million), thus avoiding arbitration with both players. Right-handers Brandon Lyon and Brett Myers and outfielders Carlos Lee and Jason Michaels are also all signed through 2011 or beyond.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.