Keuchel makes his case for a roster spot

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Left-hander Dallas Keuchel ended last season in the Astros' rotation, but he finds himself competing for a spot on the club in his first Major League camp this year.

Keuchel, 25, made 16 starts with the Astros in three different stints with the Major League club, going 3-8 with a 5.27 ERA in 2012. He threw a complete game in his second start in the big leagues, but certainly had his share of struggles the rest of the way. All of it has helped Keuchel come to camp in a better frame of mind to compete.

"You learn as a person, not only when things are going well, but when things are going bad," Keuchel said. "I took a step back and looked at things last year, and in the bad starts I wasn't locating. It's not about who has the best stuff out there. It's hitting your spots and being consistent, and repeating my delivery."

Keuchel made his first start of the spring on Saturday against the Braves and worked two scoreless innings, allowing three hits and not striking anyone out.

"It was just nice to get my focus," Keuchel said. "That first time out [in relief on Monday], I kind of was everywhere mentality wise, and this time out I tried to really focus on the mental side and I got myself ready -- and I think it was a lot better. There's a lot of competition, and that's good for a lot of guys. When it comes down to it, you have to keep pitching."