Fields was optioned to Triple-A Fresno following Thursday's game, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. Fields was tagged with his 12th earned run in 15 appearances Thursday, so the Astros decided to send him down to give him a chance to iron things out. Fields appeared in 14 games with the Astros this season and at least 41 over the last three seasons, so he figures to be back with the big club at some point this summer.
Fields failed to record an out Tuesday, allowing two runs on four consecutive hits during Houston's 7-5 loss to Texas. Fields entered the game in the bottom of the sixth inning in relief of starter Scott Feldman and promptly gave up two singles and two doubles before he was removed from the game for Chris Devenski. The 30-year-old right-hander sports an 11.37 ERA, 2.21 WHIP and 8:1 K:BB ratio over 6.1 innings this season. He'll continue to work in low-leverage situations for the time being.
Fields has made three Grapefruit League appearances, allowing five baserunners and one run over two innings. Fields had a productive season with the Astros last season, posting a career-best 3.55 ERA (2.25 FIP), 1.14 WHIP and 11.9 K/9. He'll pitch in middle relief in 2016 with Ken Giles, Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek, Will Harris and Tony Sipp handling the late-inning duties.
Fields agreed to a one-year, $900,000 deal with the Astros on Friday, avoiding arbitration, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports. The 30-year-old righty was excellent last season in a middle relief role, posting a 2.19 FIP with 67 strikeouts in 50.2 innings. After Houston acquired Ken Giles this offseason, any realistic hope of Fields finding his way to saves seems to have evaporated, but he should still be a solid source of ratios and strikeouts in 2016.
Fields was tendered a contract by the Astros on Wednesday, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. This makes it official that Fields will return to the Astros in 2016. The 30-year-old had his most successful MLB campaign last season in the Houston bullpen, posting a 3.55 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, which he'll hope to carry into next season.