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Astros' insurance claim on Bagwell denied

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The Houston Astros' insurance claim on Jeff Bagwell has been denied, and the next step will apparently be litigation, with the Astros to sue to try to collect the $15.6 million for 2005 they claim they are owed under the policy.

The insurance company's position is that Jeff Bagwell played in September and October of last year, and his condition didn't change between then and January 31, 2006 (the deadline for filing a claim). Thus, he was capable of playing, and the claim was meritless.

The only way I can see the Astros getting around this is to either claim that Bagwell's condition deteriorated between the end of last season and January -- a rather shaky proposition -- or to claim that Bagwell was not a major league caliber player at the end of last season, but that they activated him for sentimental purposes.

The latter would seem to be their best argument, although it would also seem to open a whole different can of worms...namely, how can they justify to their fans running a guy out there at DH in the World Series if they didn't believe he was a major league caliber player?