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Astros set to host Veracruz in historic exhibition series

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The Houston Astros are set to host the Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz from the Mexican League this weekend at Minute Maid Park. The two exhibition games will take place on Saturday, March 29 at 7:10 p.m. CT and Sunday, March 30 at 1:10 p.m. CT. It will mark the first time that the Astros have hosted a club from the Mexican League in Houston.

RHP Mark Appel , the first overall selection in last year's MLB draft, will start for the Astros on Sunday in what will be his first career Spring Training start and Minute Maid Park debut. The 22-year-old right-hander was slowed by an appendectomy performed in late January, but made his first Major League appearance of the Spring on March 26 vs. the Mets and earned the victory after striking out two in a scoreless inning of relief. Appel is considered one of the top prospects in the game and was recently rated by ESPN.com as baseball's No. 11 overall prospect (ranked third among pitchers).

Astros No. 3 starter LHP Brett Oberholtzer will start Saturday's 7:10 p.m. game. Last year as a rookie, Oberholtzer went 4-5 with a 2.76 ERA and two complete games in 13 outings (10 starts). After joining Houston's rotation in July of 2013, his 2.24 ERA as a starter ranked second in the American League.

Prior to Saturday's game, Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte and the Astros will be hosting a VIP reception at 3:00 p.m. in the Union Station Lobby (501 Crawford St., Houston, TX 77002) for civic and business leaders celebrating the strong economic ties between Veracruz and Houston. The reception will also include media sessions, where players and officials from both the Veracruz and Houston organizations will be available prior to the 7:10 p.m. matchup between the two teams. Those in attendance at the event will be Duarte, Chairman of Los Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz Jose Antonio Mansur, Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow, Astros Director of International Oz Ocampo, Veracruz Manager Jose Offerman, Veracruz players Alex Cabrera and Jose Cobos, Astros Spanish radio broadcaster Francisco Romero and Astros players.

Tickets for both games against Veracruz are available for purchase at www.astros.com/tickets.

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