Tigers claim relief pitcher Josh Zeid from Astros

Ezequiel Carrera designated for assignment

(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers claimed Josh Zeid, a right-handed relief pitcher, off waivers from the Houston Astros on Thursday. To make room for the 27-year-old, Detroit designated speedy outfielder Ezequiel Carrera for assignment.

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Zeid appeared in 23 games for the Astros last season, posting a 6.97 ERA and striking out 18 batters in 20.2 innings. He posted a 3.90 ERA in 25 games during his rookie season in 2013.

The reliever has enjoyed sustained success in the minor leagues, including a combined ERA of 3.18 over the last two years in Triple-A Oklahoma City. He demonstrated an elite ability to strike batters out, fanning 74 in 62.1 innings.

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The acquisition may not jump out at Tigers fans, but many will remember the last under-the-radar move Dave Dombrowski made regarding the Astros. The Tigers' GM jumped to sign outfielder J.D. Martinez last offseason after the Astros cut him, and the slugger drove in 76 runs and hit 23 home runs and 30 doubles for the Tigers in 2014. He posted a .315 average in 123 games.

Detroit's interest in Zeid likely stems from his performance under Brad Ausmus on Israel during the 2013 World Baseball Classic. In two appearances for Israel, Zeid allowed one earned run on one hit and one walk in 2.2 innings. He struck out three hitters and even picked up a save against Spain.

In other news, the Tigers moved pitcher Angel Nesbitt and infielder Dixon Machado onto their 40-man roster to protect them during the Rule 5 draft in December. Both players play for Double-A Erie.

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Nesbitt, 23, posted a 2.23 ERA in 24 games for the SeaWolves this season, striking out 36 batters in 32.1 innings and saving six games. He started the season with Single-A Lakeland and dominated hitters to the tune of a 0.79 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 34.1 innings. He saved 14 games in Lakeland.

Machado also spent time with Lakeland and Erie, but hit better in 90 Double-A games, knocking in 32 runs and hitting 23 doubles en route to a .305 batting average. Machado showed great plate coverage, drawing more walks (40) than strikeouts (36). The 22-year-old hit five home runs in 292 at-bats.