The Astros have become a beneficiary of the Giants' waiver claim on Cody Ross.
The Giants, who are collecting outfielders like bobblehead dolls, claimed Ross to block the first-place Padres, who need a center fielder. Their bluff got called by the Marlins, who decided to let the Giants pick up the rest of Ross' salary.
In order to make room on their 40-man roster for Ross, the Giants had to designate infielder Matt Downs for assignement, which meant he had to go through waivers. The Astros snatched him up Wednesday. Downs, 26, hasn't done much in limited big-league action, but he's batting .280 with some power at Triple-A. He's mostly a second baseman, but has played everywhere except catcher and center field, making him a solid utility possibility.
-- David Andriesen
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