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12/13/11 12:27 AM EST

Happ tendered 2012 contract by Astros

HOUSTON -- Not surprisingly, the Astros tendered a contract to left-handed starting pitcher J.A. Happ on Monday.

Happ, eligible for arbitration for the first time, earned $474,000 last season and certainly won't break the bank. There was no reason for the Astros not to tender Happ considering his relatively small salary and the chance he could return to form next year.

The Astros will have work out a 2012 salary with Happ or go to arbitration.

Happ was 6-15 with a 5.35 ERA last season, but he went 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA in his final six starts -- all of which came after he returned from a stint at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Acquired from the Phillies in the Roy Oswalt trade in 2010, Happ will enter spring in the starting rotation.

The Astros' only other arbitration-eligible player, catcher Humberto Quintero, signed a one-year, $1 million contract Monday.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.