Former Tide standout to join Astros

HOUSTON – Former University of Alabama Crimson Tide infielder Matt Downs was called up by the Houston Astros Tuesday, Sept. 1 and will be available to play in this Saturday's road game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Downs, 26, was called up Tuesday after being claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 25. Per Major League Baseball rules he was required to spend 10 days in the Minor Leagues before participating with the big league club.

The Centreville, Ala., native appeared in 26 games this year for San Francisco, hitting .244 with a home run and seven RBI. During his three stops in the Minors – Triple-A Round Rock, Triple-A Fresno and the Rookie League Arizona Giants – Downs hit a combined .242 with seven home runs and 32 RBI.

"I'm excited about the opportunity," Downs said in an interview with the Houston media. "The Giants were getting me to play a utility infield-type role, but I can go to the outfield. I don't know what the plan is, but I'll play it by ear and see what they [the Astros] want me to do."

Downs, a graduate of Bibb County High School, came to the Capstone after a stint at Shelton State Community College. He pitched while also playing the infield during his time with the Tide. By the end of his three seasons with the Tide, Downs had pitched 58.2 innings spanning 32 appearances while striking out 56. His best season as a position player came in his final year at UA when Downs started all 59 games and hit a staunch .305 with a .387 on-base percentage and added 46 runs and 56 RBI while hitting six home runs.