Ex-Cats

Former UK slugger AJ Reed back in majors with Astros

Houston Astros designated hitter A.J. Reed sits in the dugout during a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, June 25, 2016.
Houston Astros designated hitter A.J. Reed sits in the dugout during a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, June 25, 2016. AP

Former University of Kentucky star AJ Reed was recalled from Triple-A Fresno by the Houston Astros on Tuesday.

Manager A.J. Hinch wasted no time getting Reed back in Houston’s starting lineup. He was at first base and batting seventh against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Reed struggled in his first stint in the majors, batting .156 with two home runs and four RBI in 17 games in late June and most of July.

But he excelled once he got back to Fresno, going 17-for-39 (.436) with four home runs, three doubles and 14 RBI in 11 games.

“I’m excited. I’m feeling good at the plate. I’m ready to take advantage of the opportunity,” Reed told Fox 26 in Houston. “I was swinging the bat really well. My plan was to not give them an option to keep me there (at Triple A).”

Hinch said the Astros’ plan was to have him get about 10 days of everyday at-bats, so Reed could regain his confidence.

“He went down there and got a lot of hits in that week and a half,” Hinch said. “We certainly want him up here. He’s a part of the future, but he’s also part of right now.”

Overall, Reed has batted .291 with 15 home runs, 22 doubles and 50 RBI in 70 games at Fresno.

Reed said all that he has learned this season will help him stick with the Astros long term.

“I feel like I’ve got a better mindset this time,” he said. “It was definitely a learning experience dealing with the failure.”

Going back to Fresno helped him get back to being the hitter he knows he can be.

“It was nice to have the everyday at-bats and get comfortable again and start seeing the ball well,” Reed said. “So that was a big positive.”

Dennis Varney: 859-231-3514, @ExCats

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