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Astros demote Duckworth; recall Qualls

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Houston, TX (Sports Network) - The Houston Astros optioned starting pitcher Brandon Duckworth to Triple-A New Orleans on Tuesday, while recalling pitcher Chad Qualls.

The 28-year old Duckworth, was acquired in the off season from the Philadelphia Phillies along with minor-league right-handers Taylor Buchholz and Ezequiel Astacio for All-Start closer Billy Wagner. Duckworth is just 1-2 in 15 games for the Astros this season. He has allowed 46 hits in 33.1 innings, while posting a 6.75 ERA. He fanned 17 with 11 walks. Duckworth didn't even last five innings in his last start -- a 7-6 setback to the Dodgers on Monday. The right-hander allowed only one run on six hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings, striking out one and has taken the loss in his last three appearances. Qualls, played in 25 games for the Zephyrs, posting a 3-5 mark with one save and a 5.51 ERA. The move will mark Qualls' first appearance in the big leagues. In 108 career minor league appearances, the 2000 second-round draft pick, is 32-35 with a 4.22 ERA.

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