01/19/10 4:37 PM EST
Feliz acclimating, has friend in fold
New third baseman joined by former teammate Myers
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
The Phillies, after all, won the World Series in 2008 and repeated as National League champions in '09 before losing in the Fall Classic to the Yankees. Feliz, along with pitcher Brett Myers, was a key member of those Philadelphia teams, and he hopes that success follows him to Houston.
"We're not here because we're bad," Feliz said with a smile Tuesday as he signed autographs at a suburban Houston elementary school as part of the Astros' Winter Caravan tour.
Houston signed Feliz to a one-year, $4.5-million contract last month and pegged him to be its starting third baseman, enabling the Astros to use Geoff Blum in more of a utility role. Feliz, who hit .266 with 12 homers and 82 RBIs in 158 games last year for Philadelphia, is one of four former Phillies who are with the Astros.
The Astros traded for Michael Bourn before the 2008 season and signed outfielder Jason Michaels prior to last season, and both have contracts for 2010. Myers played eight seasons with the Phillies before signing with Houston earlier this month for a guaranteed $5.1 million.
Feliz knows Myers well, as the pair played together the previous two years. Myers was 4-3 with a 4.84 ERA last season in 18 games during a campaign interrupted by hip surgery.
"I think he's a great pitcher," Feliz said. "I saw him pitch many times and he's going to great for the team. He was hurt last year with a hip issue, but I saw him pitch in the World Series and playoffs and he looked great. He's going to help the team and contribute to the team. He's a worker. I think it's going to be great to have him on the team."
Feliz looked rather comfortable wearing a pinstripe Astros jersey on Tuesday and was eager to get to Kissimmee, Fla., in a month for Spring Training.
"I haven't met everybody yet, but I'm ready to go," Feliz said. "One month from now, it's going to be Spring Training. It's right around the corner and it's going to be great. I'm ready to get with the team and get on the field."
A right-handed hitter, Feliz is a career .254 hitter with 135 homers and 558 RBIs with the Giants and Phillies. He's a .301 career hitter with five homers and 18 RBIs at Minute Maid Park, which has an inviting left-field wall for a right-handed hitter.
"I never consider the ballpark," Feliz said.
Feliz hasn't given much consideration to new manager Brad Mills' potential lineup, but he's likely to hit in the bottom half of the order, probably sixth or seventh. It doesn't make much of a difference to Feliz, who is just ready to get the season going.
"With the lineup we have, it's going to be a great season," he said. "We're going to go in there every day with the attitude that we're going to win, and that's just going to happen. I think we have the team to do that."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.