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Harrell hopes to return to 2012 form for Astros

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 24, 2014 at 5:30 pm •  Published: February 24, 2014

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Lucas Harrell won a team-best 11 games as a rookie in 2012 before a terrible season a year ago, when he led the American League with 17 losses and got bumped into the bullpen.

Harrell made some offseason adjustments, and he is confident he can reclaim a spot in Houston's rotation.

"The big thing is just being around all the new guys, all the new faces and just coming clean and letting go of last year," he said. "When you have a bad year you just want to forget about it and move on and work on ways to get better and focus on those things."

Harrell won a spot in the rotation in 2012 and went 11-11 with a 3.76 ERA. A year later, his ERA ballooned to 5.86 and he was 6-17 in 36 games with 22 starts.

"It's frustrating because you work hard," he said. "But you've got to take the bad with the good. It was a learning lesson and hopefully it will help me as a player and as a person."

Manager Bo Porter has discussed with Harrell how to move on.

"It's a brand new season," Porter said. "Show up this year ready to compete and be the pitcher that we all believe you are capable of being."

Harrell got off to a decent start last season, posting a 3.60 ERA in the opening month of the season. He had a bad May before it looked like he got back on track in June when he again posted an ERA lower than he did in April. But he regressed to start July, allowing seven earned runs in just 3 1-3 innings in his first start of the month and was soon taken out of the rotation.

"I tried to do too much," he said. "Sometimes I went out there and I felt like I had to be perfect on every pitch and that's obviously not going to happen ... so I definitely learned a good lesson on that."

The move to the bullpen didn't help things and Harrell felt out of sorts and knew he had to figure out how to get back to the pitcher he once was.

"I was just trying to do whatever I could to help the team win from there on out," he said. "I just wanted to pitch well and succeed."

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