Musgrove closes book on solid rookie season

Righty 'bummed' to sit this weekend but excited for Spring Training

Musgrove closes book on solid rookie season

ANAHEIM -- Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove admitted he was "bummed out" by not being able to make his final start of the season this weekend against the Angels, especially considering he had tons of family and friends coming up from his home in the San Diego area to watch him possibly pitch.

Once the Astros fell out of contention on Thursday, they shut down Musgrove after he threw a career-high 147 1/3 innings combined between the Minor Leagues and the Majors.

Musgrove, who split his season between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Fresno before being called up, struck out eight batters in 4 1/3 innings of relief in his Aug. 2 debut and then made 10 starts, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA overall, walking 16 and striking out 55 in 66 innings.

"It was definitely a really beneficial year from a learning standpoint," he said. "Getting a chance to get up here and kind of earn the respect of some of the guys and show the guys that I'm able to compete at this level was important to me. Getting out there and going through a little bit of failure and learning the adjustments I needed to make, I feel I ended on a good note this year, a strong note at least going into the offseason and knowing what I need to work on. I'm ready to go for next year."

Musgrove will come to camp next year as one of the leading contenders for a spot in the Astros' rotation. Houston figures to return Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and Lance McCullers, with Musgrove, Mike Fiers, Brady Rodgers and David Paulino among those battling for the final two rotation spots.

"He's definitely in the conversation," manager A.J. Hinch said. "A lot is going to happen between now and the spring as to how our roster shakes out. He's done enough to enhance his position. I know he had a couple of rough starts in the middle of his time up here, but his preparation has been good, his adjustments have been good. He's got the pitches to pitch up here in the rotation."

Musgrove said he learned what weapons he could use in certain situations and how different hitters warrant different approaches. He admitted his arm started to feel tired when he hit about 120 innings, but expects to be ready for a full offseason program. He'll spend the winter living near his home in San Diego with teammate James Hoyt.

"I feel like I set myself up nicely," he said. "I understand they had no spot to really give and I'm just going to go out there and do my job and earn the spot. But I feel like I've done a lot and proven to them that I'm able to compete at this level and they've kind of gotten a chance to see me compete and see what I have. I feel like they're confident in me and happy with where we're now and they're looking forward to next season."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.