Since then, he has been with 16 different minor league teams without a call up to the big leagues.
“I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I could get back and help a team out,” Van Hekken said.
Van Hekken has spent four seasons in the Astros' organization.
“There just hasn't been a whole lot of opportunity (at the major league level),” Van Hekken said. “I know from the past they don't reward guys, just calling guys up because they've had good years. They want to get guys up there that can help them out (long-term).”
The Astros are presently in a youth movement, and Van Hekken, 32, might be too old to fit into Houston's rebuilding plans.
Van Hekken thinks it is possible that his age might be hindering a promotion to the big leagues, but DeFrancesco doesn't think so.
“If you get them out, I don't think it matters how old you are and he's been doing that all year,” DeFrancesco said. “The last two years, he has definitely had consideration for a major league call up.”
Perhaps it will happen next month when the Triple-A season ends and the major league rosters expand.
“I am not expecting anything,” Van Hekken said. “I am just trying to finish strong and hopefully leave a good impression and give myself a chance to get called up.
“I've put together a solid year. If it doesn't work out here, then hopefully somewhere else it will happen for me.”