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Retired Biggio agrees to personal services deal with Astros

HOUSTON -- Craig Biggio agreed to a three-year personal
services contract with the Houston Astros, similar to deals the
team struck with former stars Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens and Jeff Bagwell.

The 42-year-old Biggio retired last season after playing his
entire 20-year career in Houston. Last June, he became the 27th
player to reach 3,000 hits and retired as the Astros' leader in
games, at-bats, hits, doubles and total bases.

"I've already moved on to the next chapter of my life," Biggio
said Monday. "I'm excited to see how the other aspects of the game
work."

He'll work as a special assistant to the general manager,
helping coach young players as well as assisting the Astros on the
business side. He'll split time between the Astros and St. Thomas
High School, where he's working as an assistant baseball coach. His
oldest son, Conor, plays for the team.

"My mornings are free, and my nights are free, so that works
out very nicely for meetings, and it works out for games," Biggio
said. "It's going to make the days really long, but I'm excited
about that."

The Astros said their deal with Clemens is still intact.
Clemens, who denies allegations by his former trainer that he used
performance-enhancing drugs, threw batting practice in late January
to minor leaguers, including his oldest son, at the team's minicamp
at Minute Maid Park.

Bagwell, who played 15 seasons in Houston, retired before last
season because of an arthritic right shoulder. He served as an
instructor at spring training last year and at the mini-camp,
something Biggio said he's interested in doing.

Ryan terminated his contract with the Astros last week, when he
became the president of the Texas Rangers.

Owner Drayton McLane said Biggio, like Ryan, will work with the
baseball operations staff as well as with young prospects.

"Even if Nolan had stayed with us, we would've had Craig,"
McLane said. "He'll work with Ed in baseball operations. But
because Craig has spent 20-plus years here and he's also our most
highly recognized star ever, he will be involved in making business
calls to civic groups and other kinds of promotions."

Biggio said he'll also assist the team in the amateur draft and
with scouting. He thinks he'll make an easy transition into the
role.

"The biggest thing is you just try to take 'I' out of the
conversation," he said. "This is the way 'I' do it, this is the
way 'I' want to go about it. Nobody wants to hear that anymore, so
you make suggestions about whatever it is. You talk about the
person that you're talking about."

Biggio shed tears when he reached 3,000 hits and again when he
played his last game in Houston, on Sept. 30. But he said
retirement has come easily because he walked away from the game on
his own terms.

"I've had a lot of players call me [and say], 'How are you
doing? You OK? I know you're retired. Are you having mixed
emotions?'" Biggio said. "I don't and I think I don't because it
was my decision all the way. After last year, it couldn't have
gotten any better than it was, other than us winning.

"I don't even look at that chapter of my life anymore. I've
already moved over to the next one."

Down the road, Biggio thinks he'd consider working in the
Astros' front office.

"A lot of people bring it up," Biggio said. "Five years down
the road, that would definitely be the icing on the cake. It would
be something and you never strive for as a player, but now you're
in a situation you have a chance to be included in an elite
company. That would be really nice."