Harrell energized to improve for 2014 season

Harrell energized to improve for 2014 season

HOUSTON -- A year ago, Lucas Harrell was putting the finishing touches on a fantastic season in which he led the Astros in wins, innings pitched and starts, and ranked second in the Major Leagues in innings pitched by a rookie. He threw at least five innings in all but one of his 32 starts.

Harrell's second full season in the Major Leagues didn't go quite as well, which has only made the right-hander even more determined to come back in 2014 and re-establish himself.

"I had a rough season this year, and it's just one of those things to where I'm looking to work on some things and improve and come back next year with a clear, fresh mind and just kind of get back to what I did last year and kind of take this as a learning lesson and a fuel to the fire for when I work out," said Harrell, who will remain in Houston in the offseason.

After going 11-11 with a 3.76 ERA last year, Harrell entered Sunday's season finale with a 6-16 record and a 5.80 ERA. He was moved out of the rotation in July and has been limited to long relief duties, as well as a few spot starts here and there.

"I think that my goal is to go to Spring Training next year and be the No. 1 guy, not just be one of the guys," Harrell said. "I want to be the guy they look at like they did the year before, when I was going out there and they thought we had a chance to win. I want to build that back. This offseason, I plan on living here and working out. That will be good. It will give me a chance to do a lot of stuf fin the community."

Last November, Harrell led the American Diabetes Association's Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes event at Minute Maid Park, walking with fans to raise money for research. His father was diagnosed with diabetes three years ago.

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.