LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With the exception of a couple of pitches he left up in the strike zone -- and another he tossed over the middle of the plate to avoid a walk -- Astros starter Philip Humber had another crisp outing in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Braves.
Humber, who will start for the Astros on April 3 against the Rangers, went six innings and allowed three solo homers and no walks while striking out four batters. In 20 innings this spring, he's allowed eight hits and five runs while striking out 11 batters.
"I felt good about the way the ball was coming out of my hand, especially early," said Humber, who will pitch one of the split-squad games Thursday. "I got a little bit tired late, but that's good. That's what we're after is pushing limits a little bit this spring. The changeup was really good today, and that's a really good sign for me. Overall, I was happy with how things went."
The spring couldn't have been scripted any better for Humber, a Texas native who signed with Houston after being claimed off waivers. He was guaranteed a spot in the rotation, but certainly pitched well enough to follow Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell.
"I'm thankful," he said. "After coming off of last year, I was just looking for an opportunity, and they've treated me very well here and given me a chance to come in and compete. I felt like I've earned a spot on the team and that feels good, to know that you worked hard, and to come in and get good results is a blessing. I'm just happy things have worked out. The work's not done, and I'm just excited for the season."
As far as making his debut for the Astros while facing Texas, that's ideal, too.
"It was neat last year because [the White Sox] opened up in Texas in Arlington and I had a lot of family and friends at that one," he said. "This will be a little bit cooler, I guess, because I'm playing on a Texas team. I'm sure I'll have a lot of ticket requests and things like that, but that's part of it.
"I'm thankful to have family and friends that support what I do, and I'll be really excited when we get to Houston and get to catch up with a lot of people. A lot of people were rooting for me in Spring Training because they wanted me to be there because it wasn't for sure. You sign a deal, but I still had to come in and win a spot. I'm thankful for it, and I think it's going to be fun."