KANSAS CITY -- Prospect A.J. Reed is still awaiting his first hit in the big leagues, but his Major League debut in the Astros' 13-5 win over the Royals on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium was certainly eventful. Reed started at designated hitter and went 0-for-2 with two walks, two runs scored and a sac fly in the fourth inning.
"It was a good game," Reed said. "I put a good swing on the two balls that were flyouts, but I felt like my at-bats were good and I saw the ball well. You can't complain."
Reed, called up following Friday's 13-4 win, had about 20 friends and family members from his hometown of Terre Haute, Ind., at Kauffman Stadium. To make room for Reed on the 40-man roster, Houston designated Minor League catcher Alfredo Gonzalez for assignment.
"It's exciting, something that you dream about your whole life," Reed said prior to Saturday's game. "Just trying to get ready for the game like normal."
Reed, the top first-base prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, was hitting .266 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs in 59 games for Fresno. The left-handed-hitting slugger had hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, hitting .362 with three homers, six doubles and seven RBIs in that span. He went 2-for-4 with a homer on Thursday.
"I just kind of had to get a feel for where I was last year and just slow everything down," he said. "It's kind of the same story that I say all the time when I start off slow. You've just got to slow it down and see the ball a long time, and make sure you swing at the right pitches, and when you do get that pitch, you can't miss it. That's what I started to do. I started making harder contact and putting the ball in play a lot more and feeling really good."
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the success against left-handers prompted the promotion.
"We're really looking for an everyday first baseman in him and we don't want him to come up and have to be relegated to platoon because it puts constraints on the roster and the manager, so if he can hit lefties, I think he's going to be fine," he said.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he's going to move around Marwin Gonzalez, who's performed well at first since Tyler White got sent down, but the addition Reed can make the Astros better.
"Ultimately, you're always trying to get incrementally better, regardless of how well you're playing as a team," Hinch said. "You're always looking for impact. He has a chance to impact our lineup and lengthen our lineup even more so than it has been. It gives us another weapon that the opponent has to deal with."
Reed showed up at the ballpark in Fresno on Friday and was told by manager Tony DeFrancesco to pack his bags for Kansas City. Reed's wife was in Fresno with him, so he called her first and told her to get ready as well.
"I was hopeful," Reed said. "The team was playing well and I was starting to hit a lot better. They felt like it was the right time, so I'm grateful for that and excited to be here."
Reed was hitting .222 against lefties and .283 against right-handers, but his numbers against lefties have been steadily improving.
"Right now I feel really good," he said. "My at-bats against lefties the last week or two have been a lot better than they were at the beginning of the year. The confidence level against lefties is really high right now. I would almost go as far as to say I feel more comfortable against lefties now. It was something that I was tired of struggling against them and just made that mental change to really focus and produce against lefties."
Reed said he wasn't nervous upon his arrival at the ballpark, but said those emotions could change by game time.
"You've just got to keep telling yourself it's another game and go out and give your team a chance to win and do the best you can," he said.