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Astros Sign Fernando Nieve

The Astros have signed Fernando Nieve to a minor league contract, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (Twitter links). Nieve has already passed his physical and will report to minor league camp.

Nieve, 28, was released by the Pirates just two days ago after allowing 17 hits in just 7 1/3 Spring Training innings. Last year for the Mets, he posted a 6.00 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, 2.1 HR/9, and 37% groundball rate in 42 innings. 18.5% of his flyballs left the yard, a rate that led all of MLB among those with at least 40 innings. Nieve also made eight starts in Triple-A, posting a 5.63 ERA. Pittsburgh signed him to a minor league pact back in December.

The Astros originally signed Nieve out of Venezuela back in 1999, and five years ago he was their third-best prospect according to Baseball America.

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