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Posted at 01:57 PM ET, 11/03/2011

Nationals’ Brian Bixler claimed by Astros off waivers

(Matt Slocum - AP)
The Nationals lost utility player Brian Bixler after the Houston Astros claimed him off waivers, the Astros announced this afternoon.

Bixler, 29, started the season with Class AAA Syracuse. He appeared in 79 games for the Nationals and hit .205/.267/.265 in 94 plate appearances. The Nationals valued him for his blazing speed and versatility, as he played every position this season except catcher, pitcher and second base.

The move, combined with eight players becoming free agents, puts the Nationals’ 40-man roster at 33 players, including Adam LaRoche and Cole Kimball, who finished the season on the 60-day disabled list.

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