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Moehler to return to Astros in '10

Moehler to return to Astros in '10

HOUSTON -- Astros right-hander Brian Moehler said Tuesday that he plans to return next season after being informed by general manager Ed Wade earlier in the day that the club planned on picking up its half of the mutual option for 2010.

Nothing will be finalized until Moehler signs the contract that is waiting for him when he returns to his home in Atlanta, but he will definitely be part of the Astros' rotation plans heading into Spring Training. The option will pay him $3 million for 2010.

"I like it here, obviously," Moehler said. "I like the direction it's going. Obviously, we didn't finish as strong as we would have liked, but the pieces are in place for us to have a good year, and I'd like to be part of it."

Moehler, 37, went 8-12 with a 5.47 ERA in 29 starts for the Astros and underwent surgery Monday in Houston to repair a torn tendon and remove some loose bodies in his right knee. He will fly to Atlanta on Wednesday after having the knee examined by team medical director Dr. David Lintner.

"It's swollen quite a bit," Moehler said. "They say everything went great. The knee is strong, but there are a lot of loose bodies floating around and they took them all out."

Moehler went 0-2 with a 27.00 ERA in his first two starts before going on the disabled list from April 14-May 4 with a knee strain. He pitched well at the end of the rotation for much of the season and went 1-7 with a 6.03 ERA in his final 13 starts.

"He's given us a solid, workmanlike effort both seasons I've been here," Wade said. "If you take away the bullpen appearances he had last year, his ERA was in the low fours. This year, take away the two starts before he went on the DL with a knee, everything since then -- although it might have gone up at the end -- was in the low four[s] as well.

"He goes out there and keeps you in games. He's one of those guys you have to see every five days and see what he does for the club. He has a tremendous work ethic and attitude, and that work ethic rubs off on other guys. It was a fairly apparent decision to make, and we wanted to wait until after he had the knee cleaned up to make sure everything went all right with that."

The Astros hold a club option for 2010 for reliever Doug Brocail, but Wade said no decision is pending.

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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