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Blackley ready to step in and help Astros

Blackley ready to step in and help Astros

HOUSTON -- The Astros didn't only get a left-hander capable of multiple innings when they traded for reliever Travis Blackley on Thursday, they got themselves a colorful character.

Blackley, who's an Australian with a thick accent, joined the club in time for Friday's game against Oakland, which traded him to Houston in exchange for Minor League outfielder Jake Goebbert. He flew in Friday from the Bay Area, where he was hanging out after being designated for assignment a week ago.

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"It's just like changing schools," he said.

While he was awaiting his next move, Blackley took in an exhibition game at the Oakland Coliseum from the stands. His girlfriend and his family had an extra ticket to the game and invited him to go along, even though he wasn't playing on the team anymore.

"Why not?" he said. "I got to hang out with the guys in the right-field bleachers. They're always yelling 'Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!' when I'm pitching, and I might as well go say 'G'day' to them."

Blackley placed some pictures of his viewpoint in the stands on the internet, which were met by mixed reactions.

"I got an abnormally high amount of Tweets and messages on Twitter and Instagram from A's fans, some of them upset about it and some of them wishing me good luck," he said.

Blackley was eager to see what the Astros can do, saying no one expected the A's to compete in the American League West last year.

"Anything can happen in these games," he said. "It's always like that. Teams expected to win the division don't, and teams that aren't come out of nowhere and win. It's too early in the season to make any kind of thing about that, but I'm excited. I have a new family now, and I'm excited to do what I can do to help."

Blackley was 6-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 28 games, including 15 starts, with San Francisco (four games) and Oakland (24 games) last season.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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