HOUSTON -- Considering how much he has struggled this season, it certainly came as no surprise Sunday when the Astros announced they had designated right-handed pitcher Philip Humber for assignment. He fell to 0-8 with a 9.59 ERA in nine appearances (seven starts) after giving up five runs in relief Saturday.
"You get to a point where you try other options, and those options don't go well and you try to figure out, 'Where do we go from here? How do we get those things figured out?'" Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Philip was not able to get it figured out."
The team replaced Humber with veteran right-hander Edgar Gonzalez, who was signed to a Major League contract. He finished the 2012 season with Houston and was in spring camp with the Astros before being designated for assignment.
The Astros claimed Humber off waivers in November and signed him to a one-year, $800,000 contract with an option for 2014. It was a feel-good homecoming for the native Texan, who helped Rice University win the College World Series in 2003.
Humber, who threw a perfect game last year for the White Sox, had a strong spring and began the season with three good starts, all of which he lost when the Astros didn't score a single run. He was 0-5 with a 16.94 ERA in his last six games and was informed Saturday night he was being designated for assignment, which means the Astros have 10 days to trade him, release him or outright him to the Minor Leagues.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Philip Humber for the way he carried himself, the way he handled himself and even the way he handled being moved from the rotation to the bullpen," Porter said. "Never once did this man point the finger at anybody else, never once did he give an excuse. He stood there and took the questions and said, 'I'm giving everything I have and it's not working out.' For that, I commend him and respect him."
Gonzalez, who had recently been designated for assignment by the Blue Jays, was in Buffalo, N.Y., when his agent called Saturday night and told him to head to Houston. When he arrived at Minute Maid Park on Sunday morning, his teammates were clearly thrilled to see him back in orange.
"I can't believe it," said Gonzalez, who will be used in long relief. "When my agent told me, 'You're going to Houston,' I couldn't believe it. I'm here now and so happy and excited."