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Towles optioned to Double-A Corpus Christi

Towles optioned to Double-A Corpus Christi

HOUSTON -- Only minutes after being told by general manager Ed Wade he was being optioned to Double-A Corpus Christi on Tuesday, Astros catcher J.R. Towles met with reporters at his locker and admitted he was unhappy with the decision.

The struggling Astros, who were handed their eighth consecutive defeat Tuesday, 1-0, by the D-backs, purchased the contract of catcher Kevin Cash from Triple-A Round Rock, moving pitcher Alberto Arias to the 60-day disabled list to make room for the veteran backstop.

"It definitely caught me off guard, for sure, and especially going to Double-A, at that," Towles said. "That's what they told me, 'We're going to option you down and send you to Double-A so you don't get logjammed at Round Rock.'"

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Towles, 26, hit .191 (9-for-47) with one homer and eight RBIs in 17 games with the Astros. He was the Opening Day starter and wound up starting 13 of the team's first 26 games, splitting time with career backup Humberto Quintero.

The Astros have No. 1 prospect Jason Castro catching at Round Rock, so the club sent Towles to Double-A to give him a chance to play every day.

"I take it alright, I guess," Towles said. "I'm not happy about the situation. I wish I would be up here, but I guess they've got to make moves, and I'm that move."

When asked about his level of frustration, Towles said: "I'm more ticked off right now about catching a flight in the morning to go to Midland [Texas]."

Towles, who fizzled when he made the team out of Spring Training in 2008 as the club's No. 1 prospect, won the starting job in the spring over Castro, who was drafted No. 8 overall in 2008. He never got going at the plate, but he's certainly not alone.

"I felt like I did alright considering I only had like 40 at-bats," he said. "I'm not knocking the cover off the ball, but to be honest, nobody really is."

Towles said he's not sure where he stands in the organization.

"I have to talk to my agent and see the options I have and go from there," he said.

Cash, 32, was hitting .174 with two RBIs in seven games at Round Rock as Castro's backup. He is a veteran of seven Major League seasons with Toronto, Tampa Bay, Boston and the Yankees and is a career .186 hitter.

Astros manager Brad Mills said Cash's experience working with pitchers made a difference.

"I think everyone was able to see that in Spring Training and know what kind of catcher he is and know how he goes about that," Mills said. "Jason, we still want to get him more time to develop so when he gets here he's ready."

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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