KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros pitcher Philip Humber, who appears to be a near lock to grab a spot in the starting rotation to begin the year, threw 73 pitches during a simulated game at the team's Minor League complex on Monday morning.
The Astros had an off-day Monday, but manager Bo Porter, pitching coach Doug Brocail and bullpen coach Dennis Martinez watched Humber throw four innings.
"The ball was coming out of my hand good today, and my breaking ball was better than it has been," Humber said. "I felt good about that. It was a good day of work."
Humber, 30, went 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA in 26 games (16 starts) for the White Sox in 2012 before the Astros claimed him on waivers in November. Houston signed him to a one-year deal that includes a club option for 2014 ($3 million with a $50,000 buyout).
Humber's performance this spring has been stellar, and it certainly has put him in prime position to open the season as one of the club's five starters.
"I feel like I'm where I need to be," Humber said. "I can't ask for things to have gone any better. I feel healthy and I'm excited about the season."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.