Michael Feliz is hoping to be promoted to Class A Advanced Lancaster before the end of the summer. His most recent start for Class A Quad Cities indicated that might not be such a bad idea.
The Astros' No. 8 prospect became the River Bandits first pitcher this season to throw seven scoreless innings as Quad Cities snapped a six-game losing streak with a 6-0 blanking of visiting Lake County.
The 21-year-old right-hander scattered three hits and three walks while tying a season high with eight strikeouts.
"I just try to do my best," he said. "I'm just working hard. I have to do what they want to see."
Through 17 games -- including 12 starts -- this year, the Futures Game participant is 6-2 with a 2.78 ERA. Over 64 2/3 innings, he's fanned 77 and walked 26 while holding opponents to a .212 batting average.
"I've been working hard to keep the ball down," he said. "I just want to show them that I'm ready. That's what I have to do."
On Saturday, Feliz yielded a leadoff double to Eric Haase in the second inning, a two-out double to Dorssys Paulino in the fourth and a two-out single to Nellie Rodriguez in the sixth. His free passes were handed out in the first, second and seventh. He also hit a batter in the third and threw a wild pitch in the fourth.
The native of the Dominican Republic induced five groundouts and two flyouts en route to winning his third straight start. He has received a decision in each of his last six starts and gone home with a victory after five of them.
"Feliz stepped up and gave us seven strong innings," River Bandits manager Omar Lopez told the Quad-City Times. "He gave us exactly what we needed as a team."
The right-hander made his last start on July 6, although he did pitch in the Futures Game on July 13 at Minnesota's Target Field, where he surrendered a two-run homer to Joey Gallo that gave the U.S. team a 3-2 lead over the World team.
The Astros signed Feliz as a non-drafted free agent in May 2010. Earlier that year, his contract with the A's was voided when he tested positive for steroids. He served a 50-game suspension before his career could get underway.
Feliz also threw seven scoreless innings for Short-Season Tri-City in a New York-Penn League playoff game on Sept. 6. He went seven in a win over Beloit on July 1, when he gave up an unearned run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts.
"I want to develop my off-speed more, my curve," he said. "And my second goal is to get to the next level this year."
Tyler Brunnemann came on in the eighth and struck out three over two perfect innings to seal the win. Chase McDonald homered and drove in two runs, while J.D. Davis, Ronnie Mitchell, Brian Holberton and Marc Wik had the River Bandits' other RBIs.
Lake County starter Mitch Brown (2-8) gave up three runs -- one earned -- on three hits and a walk while fanning seven over 4 2/3 innings.