In order to open up a 40-man roster spot for recently called up Brandon Barnes, the Houston Astros have designated pitcher Juan Abreu for assignment, as reported by Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. The transactions starts a ten-day window for the Astros to trade, release or waive Abreu to the minors.
Astros are designating P Juan Abreu for assignment.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) August 7, 2012
This move could just be a formality and offer little to no threat of the Astros losing Abreu. He will likely be remaining with the organization, considering the 27-year-old Abreu has spent the entire 2012 season with the Astros Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City.
On the year, Abreu has posted a 7.09 ERA across 45 2/3 innings of work in 38 relief appearances. He's done well missing bats (10.6 K/9), but has struggled mightily with his control (6.7 BB/9) and keeping the ball in the park (2.4 HR/9). However, pitching in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League will inflate home run rates.