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Astros ink Veras to Minor League deal

HOUSTON -- Veteran reliever Jose Veras never wanted to leave the Astros in the first place, so he was thrilled to be rejoining the organization.

The Astros on Sunday announced they had signed Veras to a Minor League contract. He'll report to Kissimmee, Fla., on Monday before going to Triple-A Oklahoma City at some point soon afterwards.

"I'm real happy to come back to the place you have good people, good organization and good teammates," Veras told from his home in Miami. "I would have liked to have stayed all my life there, but sometimes it's business. The bottom line is it's best off for a player to be in a good place you can feel comfortable with everything."

Veras was released by the Cubs last week after signing a one-year, $4 million deal in December. The Astros had made an offer in the winter to try to re-sign him, and Veras spoke publicly about his desire to return. Now that he's back in the organization, he wants to get in game shape as soon as possible.

"My arm feels good," he said. "I have to go by their decision and be smart too at the same time. My last time to pitch was 14 days ago. I don't try to be a hero. When you haven't pitched in a while, it's tough to say 'I'm sharp,' 'I'm good to go' or whatever. I've been working and threw live BP two days ago, threw bullpens and working here in Miami."

Veras was projected to be the Cubs closer, but he lost the closer's job to Hector Rondon after compiling an 8.10 ERA in 12 games. After Veras, 33, was designated for assignment earlier this month, the Cubs had 10 days to trade him or release him.

Veras was traded last midseason to Detroit after appearing in 42 games for the Astros, for whom he posted a 2.94 ERA with 19 saves in 43 innings. He was a strong presence in the Astros' young clubhouse, and the team struggled to close out games after he was dealt.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.
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