ARLINGTON -- Philip Humber's signing with the Astros was one of the team's feel-good stories of the offseason. Humber grew up in Texas and helped Rice University win the College World Series in 2003, so it was nothing short of a homecoming.
The signing didn't work out quite like Humber and the Astros would have hoped. He went 0-7 with an 8.82 ERA in his first seven starts and was eventually designated for assignment, appearing in 20 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
The Astros are unlikely to pick up Humber's $3 million option for 2014, which is a decision general manager Jeff Luhnow said would be made quickly after the season. There is a $50,000 buyout if he doesn't return.
Humber admits it's been a tough couple of years since he threw his perfect game, but he believes he can contribute at the Major League level.
"I've showed flashes of being as good as I've ever been," he said. "I'm not hurt. I still enjoy coming to the park and I'm still relatively young . It's one of those things that's like, 'Man, you walk away from it, are you going to look back and think I wish I could have kept going?' There's times in the past, I didn't know if it was going to work out. It's still fun. It beats working, you know?"
Humber has made eight relief appearances since he was called back up in the middle of August and has allowed 18 hits and 10 earned runs in 19 innings for a 4.74 ERA.
"The first part of the year was terrible for me, and then I felt going to Triple-A was probably the best thing that could have happened as far as getting back to what I can do on the mound and enjoying baseball," he said. "To be able to come back and get another opportunity was really nice. I've enjoyed my time with the Astros, but I know they've got a lot of decisions to make. We'll just have to wait and see what happens as far as that goes."