Called over from Minors camp, Phillips makes major impact

Young outfielder goes yard in Astros' loss to Braves

Called over from Minors camp, Phillips makes major impact

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Outfielder Brett Phillips found himself a little flustered after Saturday's game, as reporters waited to talk to him while he searched for his batting helmet and bat, which were likely hidden by his teammates as a prank.

Phillips, the Astros' Minor League Player of the Year in 2014, capped a long but fulfilling day with a thrill by belting a home run off Braves pitcher Justin Jackson in the ninth inning of Atlanta's 6-5 win over Houston at Champion Stadium.

"It was awesome," Phillips said. "[I'm] just taking advantage of every opportunity I get to be up here playing with these guys and learning from them. It was definitely awesome to be able to get a hold of one. He left one up and I was able to put a good swing on it."

Phillips was a late addition to the travel roster after he had worked out in Minor League camp all morning.

"He gets in and gets a fastball to hit and smoked it," manager A.J. Hinch said. "That was awesome to see. He's a really energetic, electric-type player."

The fact that his helmet and bat were missing didn't faze Phillips.

"I'm floating on a cloud right now," he said. "It was a great feeling, for sure."

Phillips, 20, hit .310 in 130 games between Class A Quad Cities and Lancaster last season, with 29 doubles, 14 triples, 17 home runs, 68 RBIs and 23 stolen bases. The left-handed hitter posted a .529 slugging percentage and .905 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. After starting the season with Quad Cities, he was promoted to Lancaster, and he played a key role in the JetHawks' championship season, hitting .339 and posting a .980 OPS in 27 games, accumulating four home runs and 10 RBIs.

"I had to practice on the Minor League side today, and after practice I was about to shower up, and [Minor League field coordinator Paul] Runge called me in and said I'm heading to the big league game today, so I said 'That's awesome,'" Phillips said. "Like I said, just taking advantage of every opportunity I get. It was a long day, but it was worth it."

Teams typically have a few players from Minor League camp on hand for big league games considering everyday players don't play in every game. Outfielders George Springer and Jake Marisnick didn't make the trip to play the Braves, so Phillips got a chance.

"He came over as a maybe, maybe not," Hinch said. "I want to get these kids in so they can get a taste of what Major League camp is like."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for 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.