Backe agrees to $1.55M deal with Astros

Updated: January 20, 2009, 6:00 PM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Brandon Backe and the Houston Astros agreed Tuesday to a $1.55 million, one-year contract, a raise of $550,000.

The 30-year-old right-hander, who had been eligible for salary arbitration, returned from elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2007 to go 9-14 with a 6.05 ERA in a career-high 31 starts last season. He is 29-27 with a 5.02 ERA in 78 starts with Houston from 2004-08.

Backe went 10-8 in 2005 and threw seven shutout innings in Game 4 of the World Series against the Chicago White Sox. He developed elbow problems in 2006, had surgery in September and returned late in the 2007 season.

Backe lost three of his last six starts in 2008, and his ERA was the highest among the Astros' regular starters.

Houston also agreed with reliever Tim Byrdak on a $1 million, one-year contract. The 35-year-old lefty went 2-1 with a 3.90 ERA in a career-high 59 appearances with the Astros in 2008.

Right-handed reliever Geoff Geary and left-handed starter Wandy Rodriguez remain in arbitration. Geary asked for $2.1 million and was offered $1,425,000 by the team, while Rodriguez proposed $3 million and was offered $2.25 million.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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