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Former Cards farm hand Blake King joins Astros

Blake King, a farmer Cardinals farmhand who last year was named by Baseball America to have the best slider in the minors, has been claimed by the Astros.

King was 4-3 with a 2.93 ERA last season for Class AA Springfield. In Springfield this year he struggled to a 13.50 ERA with seven hits and four walks allowed in 1 1/3 innings. He spent most of his time at Class AAA Memphis. At the Cardinals top farm club he pitched 14 innings and walked a whopping 20 batters to help compile and 11.08 ERA.

While walks have always been a problem for King -- he surrendered 324 in 428 1/4 innings while in the St. Louis farm sytsten, the 24 year old righthander has electric stuff, striking out 511.

Houston picked King up off waivers and assigned him to its Class AA affiliate in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The Tulsa, Okla. native was chosen by St. Louis in the 44th round of the 2005 amateur draft.

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