Astros acquire three prospects from Pittsburgh

HOUSTON, TX — The Houston Astros have acquired left-handed pitcher Rudy Owens, outfielder Robbie Grossman and left-handed pitcher Colton Cain from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for left-handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez. The announcement was made by Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow.

“Wandy has been a terrific pitcher for the Astros for a long time,” said Luhnow. “Trading a player like Wandy is not easy, but we know this deal is a very good one for us, the Pirates and for Wandy. We thank him for all he has done for the Astros and wish him continued success.”

Owens, 24, has posted an 8-5 record and a 3.14 ERA (41ER/117.1IP) in 19 starts for Triple A Indianapolis this season. He was a 2012 International League All-Star and currently ranks seventh in the league in ERA and fifth in innings pitched. He has 85 strikeouts and has walked only 25 in his 117.1 innings pitched. Owens, who will join the club’s 40-man roster, was Pittsburgh’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009 and 2010. Owens was originally a 28th round selection in the June 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

Grossman, 22, was hitting .262 (91x347) with 20 doubles, seven home runs, 35 RBI and a .374 on-base percentage in 94 games for Double A Altoona this season. Primarily a center fielder, Grossman was named Pittsburgh’s Minor League Player of the Year last year after hitting .294 (144x490) and leading the Florida State League with 124 runs scored and 104 walks in 134 games. The switch-hitting Grossman is currently ranked by MLB.com as Pittsburgh’s No. 7 prospect, while Baseball America ranks him eighth. He was originally a sixth-round selection in the 2008 Draft out of Cy-Fair High School in Houston.

Cain, 21, is 3-5 this season with a 4.20 ERA (35ER/75IP) in 16 starts for Class A Bradenton in the Florida State League. The 6-foot-3 lefty has allowed just a .242 opponent’s batting average, including a .226 mark against right-handed hitters. A graduate of Waxahachie High School in Texas, Cain was considered one of the top high school players in the state before being selected by Pittsburgh in the eighth round of the 2009 draft. The 2012 season is just his third as a professional.

Rodriguez, 33, is 7-9 this season with a 3.79 ERA (55ER/130.2IP) in 21 starts for the Astros. He was originally a product of the Astros Dominican Academy, having signed with the club in January of 1999. Rodriguez pitched nearly eight full seasons with Houston (2005-12) and owns a career 80-84 record and a 4.04 ERA (587ER/1306.2IP) in 227 appearances (218 starts).

The Astros 40-man roster remains at 39 players.