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Astros add seven to big league roster

Astros add seven to big league roster

HOUSTON -- On Monday, on the final day of the Triple-A season, Oklahoma City manager Tony DeFrancesco held a team meeting and informed right-handed prospect Nick Tropeano to pack his bags, as Tropeano was among a handful of players called up for September's roster expansion on Tuesday.

Tropeano, 24, is making his debut on a Major League roster after going 9-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 23 games (20 starts) with the RedHawks this season. An All-Star in the Pacific Coast League, he had 120 strikeouts in 124 2/3 innings and a .202 opponent's batting average.

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"The guys went wild," Tropeano said of the team meeting. "It was a great feeling, a dream come true. I called my parents. They cried a little bit."

Tropeano is among seven players the Astros added to the Major League roster on Tuesday. Houston also recalled outfielder L.J. Hoes, catcher Max Stassi and infielder Jonathan Villar, and purchased the contracts of Jorge De Leon and Tropeano. Left-hander Darin Downs was activated from the disabled list, and right-hander Samuel Deduno joined the team after being acquired off waivers.

To make room for De Leon and Tropeano, pitchers Paul Clemens and David Martinez were designated for assignment.

"It was a pretty exciting day in the clubhouse today for some of the newer players or some of the guys that are coming back," general manager Jeff Luhnow said.

Stassi, 23, appeared in three games for the Astros last season in his Major League debut, which was marred by a concussion that kept him out of action for weeks. In 101 games at Oklahoma City in 2014, Stassi hit .247 with 20 doubles, nine home runs and 45 RBIs.

"It was up and down, but I felt it was a good learning experience," Stassi said. "There was a lot going on, and I really focused on my catching. That was the No. 1 priority for me -- not to say that I wasn't focusing on my hitting, but it kind of took a back seat at times. Overall, I'm happy with the way the season went."

Villar, 23, played in 71 games with the Astros after beginning the season as the everyday shortstop. He was optioned to Oklahoma City on June 30 and hit .258 with 24 steals and 27 RBIs in 51 games. He walked 31 times, for a .363 on-base percentage.

Villar has all the tools to succeed, and the Astros are hoping he can keep his head in the game defensively and avoid the mental mistakes that have plagued him.

"He went down and did exactly what I asked him to do -- go down there and play every day and figure out how to keep your mind in the game at every moment of the game and help your team win," Luhnow said. "He went down there and stole bases and played a good shortstop, and he was able to contribute offensively, and I think he's ready to show us the talent we all believe in. [He's] ready to perform at this level on a consistent basis."

Hoes, 24, was the Opening Day right fielder and has played in 52 Major League games across two stints with Houston this season. In 35 games at Oklahoma City, he hit .297 with six doubles, two home runs, 15 RBIs, 16 walks and a .381 on-base percentage.

He's battling for time in the outfield with Jake Marisnick, Robbie Grossman and Alex Presley.

De Leon, 27, posted a 4-5 record with five saves and a 3.01 ERA in a combined 46 games at Double-A and Triple-A. Luhnow likes De Leon's ability to run his fastball in the upper 90s, and praises the development of his slider.

"He was more of a one-pitch pitcher last year, and he's got two pitches now, and so we're excited to see what he can do," Luhnow said. "He'll get some innings in close games late."

Downs, 29, returns to the club after making two rehab appearances with Corpus Christi. He's been out since Aug. 15 with a strained right oblique. He has made 40 appearances with the Astros this season, posting a 4.31 ERA.

Clemens, 26, made 13 Major League appearances across five stints for the Astros this season. He spent the majority of 2014 at Triple-A, making 19 appearances (five starts).

Martinez, 27, made three appearances for the Astros this season, all during a week-long stint in July. He pitched 22 games with the RedHawks in 2014, including 13 starts.

Brian McTaggart is 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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