Astros left-hander J.A. Happ will start the club’s second game of the spring on Sunday against the Washington Nationals in Viera, Fla.
Happ, who agreed to a one-year, $2.35 million contract last month, went 6-15 with a 5.35 ERA in 28 starts for the Astros last season.
He went 4-14 with a 6.26 ERA over his first 22 starts and led the NL in losses prior to being optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Aug. 6.
Happ bounced back with a stellar 1.50 ERA over three starts at Oklahoma City and was recalled by the Astros nearly three weeks later.
The southpaw responded by going 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA in six starts down the stretch to regain momentum heading into the 2012 season.
Happ, who continues to look impressive in the early going of camp, is excited for the opportunity a new season brings for players and teams.
“I think with any new season, there’s always excitement,” Happ said. “You never know what can happen. I think we are there, along with the 29 other clubs. I’m excited to get going. I think we all are.”
The Astros will be looking for Happ to prove himself over the course of 2012 as a potential long-term solution in the club’s rotation.
Happ refuses to let frustration get the better of him this time around.
“The goal is to keep the team in games,” Happ said. “When it doesn’t work out, it can get frustrating. You just can’t let that overtake you.”
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