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Birthday surprise: Feliz called up to Astros

Club adds prospect after optioning Oberholtzer to Triple-A Fresno

HOUSTON -- There's a surprise party in Corpus Christi on Sunday to celebrate Michael Feliz's 22nd birthday, though the guest of honor won't be in attendance.

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Feliz was called up from Double-A Corpus Christi after Brett Oberholtzer was optioned to Triple-A Fresno following his ejection in a 9-6 loss to the Yankees on Saturday. Feliz, the Astros' fifth-ranked prospect, was summoned into the manager's office after the Hooks' game on Saturday and told of his callup. The right-hander flew to Houston on Sunday morning -- just in time for his birthday.

"Someone had a surprise for me," Feliz said. "But when I called them and said I was going to Houston tonight, they said, 'OK, we're still going to celebrate, but we miss you.'"

Feliz has one inning of Major League experience, allowing one hit with one strikeout against the White Sox on May 31. After he was sent back down, Feliz said he worked on his offspeed repertoire -- especially his slider -- to complement his power fastball.

"He's got some swing-and-miss stuff," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. "His ball moves a little bit. But for him it all revolves around his fastball. With that kind of velocity, it makes his other pitches better."

Hinch said Feliz's earlier stint, no matter how brief, was valuable and got him better suited for the big league club.

"This is probably going to be a back and forth for him a couple different times this year -- maybe not, maybe he stays -- but he showed very well up here," Hinch said. "Got some maturity to him, got his first outing out of the way, so he should feel more comfortable this time around."

Though he's missing his party, Feliz said he's got a set of alternate birthday plans that will have to suffice.

"If I'm pitching, just try to strike out a couple."

Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for
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