KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The opportunity to play in Texas for the first time since he was at the University of Houston a decade ago has catcher Luis Flores thrilled to be wearing an Astros uniform.
Flores, taken by the Astros in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft in December, is in camp as a non-roster invitee and is earmarked to open the season at Triple-A Fresno, a step below the Majors and a step above Double-A Corpus Christi -- his hometown.
"It was a shocker to me, but it's for the best for me and it would be nice to make a big league debut here in Houston," said Flores, who was born in Del Rio. "I went to school at the University of Houston and have family in Texas and I'm from Texas, so it would be a blessing."
Flores, 28, was originally taken in the seventh round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft by the Cubs and has 362 career Minor League games under his belt. At Triple-A Iowa last year, he hit .253 with a .440 on-base percentage in 31 games, and he has thrown out 36 percent of attempted basestealers in his career.
He'll likely split the catching duties at Triple-A this year with Max Stassi.
"I've learned throughout the years to come in here and take care of yourself and take care of your business and it will all play out," Flores said. "I'm hoping I get the chance to play here in the big leagues. It would be awesome. Like I said, just come in here and work hard and do what's best for me."
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.