Oberholtzer makes Major League debut

HOUSTON -- Nothing like catching a 5 a.m. flight when you haven't slept, arriving at the ballpark at 11 a.m. and making your Major League debut only a few hours later. For Brett Oberholtzer, it was nothing short of a dream come true.

The Astros called up the lefty from Triple-A Oklahoma City, informing him late Saturday night in Albuquerque, N.M. he was headed to Houston. He pitched two innings in relief Sunday and gave up a pair of solo home runs and a double in Houston's loss to Cleveland.

"I was a little nervous, not as nervous as I thought I would be," said Oberholtzer, who was acquired from the Braves in the 2011 trade for Michael Bourn. "It's all about how to handle it and continue to make progress."

Oklahoma City manager Tony DeFrancesco summoned Oberholtzer into his office following Saturday night's game and scribbled on paper for a few minutes before telling him nonchalantly he was going to Houston. Once he gathered his thoughts, he called his parents in Delaware.

"It meant the world to me," he said. "Growing up as a kid you always want to become a professional baseball player. I had that goal since I was 5 in tee ball. I need to continue to work hard and make strides and I'm glad I started my career."

Oberholtzer had been starting for the RedHawks, but he'll pitch in long relief for the Astros. Paul Clemens was unavailable Sunday after throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings Saturday, and Dallas Keuchel threw 2 2/3 innings before being sent down.

"Having guys down in the bullpen as long guys is vital to the overall success of the team," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "You look at the short sample in which we've had this year, and they've saved us quite a few times, times when our starter has gotten in trouble early and other times we wanted to bridge to the back end of our bullpen."

Oberholtzer made three starts for Oklahoma City, going 0-2 with a 9.49 ERA. In 12 1/3 innings pitched, he allowed 18 hits, 13 earned runs and four walks.

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.