Former Rice star pitcher Philip Humber, who threw a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox in April, was claimed today off waivers by the Houston Astros.
Humber became the 21st pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw a perfect game when he and the White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 4-0.
However, Humber finished the season 5-5, with a 6.44 ERA.
After a stellar career at Rice, Humber was taken by the N.Y. Mets with the third-overall pick in the first round of the 2004 amateur draft.
Now his professional career brings Humber, who is from Carthage, Tx., back to Houston.
"I'm excited," Humber said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. "It's close to home. I'm very familiar with Houston and the Astros. Just excited about the opportunity.
"Last year I had a lot of ups and downs. The way the year started, the perfect game that was awesome, but obvioulsy it didn't end up so well.
"I'm excited to get back after it and pitch like I know I'm capable of pitching."
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow reached out to Humber earlier today.
"I talked to Jeff Luhnow," Humber said. "We had a good conversation earlier this afternoon and my agent and him have been in contact figuring out the logistics of how everything is going to work.
"He seemed like a really good guy just talking to him on the phone. Obviously a young team. Hopefully, I'm going to fit in well and be able to help the ballclub."
Humber, who was arbitration eligible, has already signed a one-year contract with the Astros, which includes a club option for 2014.
MLB sources confirm Humber's contract is worth $800,000.
The club option is for $3 million, with a buyout of $50,000.
"I'm excited," Humber said. "It kind of makes it more official.
"As soon as I found out the Astros had claimed me, I was real excited about that, but then there's the business aspect of it. You have to work something out."
The Astros would have had to tender Humber a contract by 11 p.m. tonight or he would have become a free agent.
That is a mute point now.
"I'm happy that we were able to get it worked out so fast and just super excited about the opportunity," Humber said.
He said he really enjoyed his conversation with Luhnow.
Humber said Luhnow told him, "It was good to have me and that they believed in me. The one thing that he mentioned is 'what we have to offer you is opportunity.'
"That's always something that you want, especially coming off a year like I had last year. Definitely not the way I wanted it to go. To get the opportunity to prove myself again means a lot."
Luhnow said everybody on the Astros roster has to go to spring training and earn their spot, but he expects Humber to do just that in the Houston rotation.
"We feel like he's ready to contribute in our rotaton," Luhnow said. "For us it was a very good opportunity to bring the local kid home and have him pitch in front of his friends and familly and help the Astros win.
"He's got a very good chance of being one of our five starters."
Humber has also pitched the for the Mets, Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals.
In seven years he is 16-15, with a 4.87 ERA.
Humber is looking forward to pitching for the Astros.
"I'm thankful for the Astros having a little faith in me," Humber said. "I'm going to try to make it payoff for them."