Astros sign LHP Zach Duke to minor league contract
HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with free agent left-handed pitcher Zach Duke, General Manager Jeff Luhnow announced today.
The deal includes an invite to Major League Spring Training camp for the 28-year-old Duke, who is a Texas native and currently resides in Fort Worth.
Duke, who pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011, has made 181 Major League appearances in his career, with 168 starts. He had spent his first six seasons (2005-10) with the Pittsburgh Pirates before being traded to Arizona following the 2010 season.
He began the 2011 season on the 15-day Disabled List with a fractured left hand after being struck with a line drive while pitching in a Spring Training game on March 12 vs. Colorado. He made his first start and appearance for the D-backs on May 28 vs. Houston at Minute Maid Park, hurling 7.0 shutout innings in an 11-3 win. Duke ended up posting a 3-4 mark in 21 appearances (nine starts) for the season with one save and a 4.93 ERA (42ER/76.2IP).
While in Pittsburgh, Duke was a member of the Pirates starting rotation since 2005, reaching 200-plus innings in a season twice (2006, 2009). He was an NL All-Star in 2009 and averaged 31 starts per season from 2008-10. In his 2005 rookie campaign, Duke was 8-2 in 14 starts with a 1.81 ERA, earning NL Rookie of the Month honors in both July and August.
In his Pirates career, his 31-31 career record at PNC Park gave him the most all-time wins at the venue through 2010 (he currently ranks 2nd). In six career appearances at Minute Maid Park (five starts), Duke is 1-2 with a 3.41 ERA (12ER/31.2IP).
For his career, Duke is 48-74 in 181 appearances (168 starts) with six complete games and a 4.56 ERA.