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Sadler an under-the-radar Astros addition

Sadler an under-the-radar addition

HOUSTON -- Lost in the much-anticipated arrivals of prospects Chris Johnson and Tommy Manzella was the addition of right-hander Billy Sadler, who signed as a Minor League free agent with the Astros in August and made 16 starts at Triple-A Round Rock.

Sadler, 27, went 5-3 with a 5.34 ERA in 13 starts for the Express after making three starts for Triple-A Fresno. He was released by the Giants and made three rehab appearances with the Astros' Gulf Coast League affiliate before going to Round Rock.

"I'm thrilled to be here right now," Sadler said. "It's such a great group of guys and everybody's welcomed me and I'm excited for a new start in baseball. I'm looking forward to finishing up the year to try to make a good impression on everyone and go from there. I want to help any way I can."

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Astros manager Cecil Cooper said Sadler would likely be used in relief, but he didn't rule out an occasional start. Sadler has appeared in 38 Major League games in relief with the Giants in 2006 and '08. He was drafted by the Giants out of Louisiana State in '03 and hails from Pensacola, Fla.

"I grew up watching Houston play," Sadler said. "I'm seven hours from my hometown and went to LSU and am just excited about being closer to home. [General manager] Ed Wade and [assistant general manager] Dave [Gottfried] are solid guys, and I'm glad they gave me an opportunity.

"It seems like they welcomed me with open arms, and I said, 'Let's go.' When we sat down and came to an agreement, I went to Kissimmee, Florida, to rehab, and I'm ready to go."

Sadler throws in the low 90s with his fastball and has a curve and changeup.

"I just try to attack the hitters and do my job and work with the catcher and go from there," Sadler said. "I just want to give my best and see what happens."

Pitching matchup
HOU: RHP Roy Oswalt (8-5, 3.77 ERA)
Oswalt held the Phillies to two hits through six scoreless innings Saturday before being forced to leave with tightness in his back. Oswalt wound up getting his 15th no-decision of the season, which ties Pete Harnisch (1992) and Jim Deshaies ('90) for the most in club history in one season. Oswalt started against the Braves on May 2 in Atlanta, but pitched only one inning because of a long rain delay. Atlanta is the only National League team Oswalt has never beaten in the regular season (0-2, 6.18 ERA in six starts).

ATL: RHP Derek Lowe (13-9, 4.36 ERA)
Lowe is coming off a tough 3-1 loss to Cincinnati in which he gave up three earned runs in seven innings, with five strikeouts. The loss snapped a run of two successive wins for Lowe. He has eight career starts against the Astros, going 3-3 with a 3.10 ERA. In 52 1/3 innings against Houston, Lowe has allowed 18 earned runs on 51 hits, with 23 strikeouts and 10 walks.

Tidbits
After not going deep Wednesday, first baseman Lance Berkman has a 32-game homerless drought, the second-longest of his career. ... Third baseman Chris Johnson made his Major League debut in the fifth inning Wednesday and popped out to first base. ... Right fielder Hunter Pence was hitting .471 (8-for-17) with three homers and nine RBIs in the first five games of the Astros' 10-game homestand.

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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FS-H HD

On radio
• KTRH 740, KLAT 1010 (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Astros (Bud Norris, 4-3, 6.05) vs. Pirates (Charlie Morton, 3-7, 5.43), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Astros (Brian Moehler, 8-10, 5.10) vs. Pirates (Ross Ohlendorf, 11-9, 3.97), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Astros (TBD) vs. Pirates (Paul Maholm, 7-8, 4.72), 1:05 p.m. CT

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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