<
>

Asmus stays with Astros

HOUSTON -- Catcher Brad Ausmus decided to stay with the Houston Astros, agreeing Wednesday to a $4 million, two-year contract.

Ausmus, a two-time Gold Glove winner, hit .229 with four home
runs and 47 RBI for the Astros last season. He finished second
among major league catchers with a .997 fielding percentage.

This is Ausmus' second stint with the Astros. He played in
Houston in 1997 and 1998 after being acquired from Detroit. He went
back to the Tigers for the 1999 and 2000 seasons before rejoining
the Astros for the 2001 season.

Ausmus, 34, has caught at least 100 games in each of his 10 full
seasons in the major leagues.

He gets $1 million in 2004 and $3 million in 2005.