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Change of scenery has White excited

HOUSTON -- Alex White sees the Astros as the land of opportunity.

Acquired by Houston in last week's trade that sent reliever Wilton Lopez to the Rockies, White said he's excited about the change of scenery and looks forward to being able to compete for a spot in the Astros' rotation next year.

"That's the biggest key for me is I feel like I'm going to get an opportunity that I want in Houston, and it's just an exciting time," he said. "I really think I'm going to be in a good place and help the organization."

White, a right-hander, will be in the competition for one of the final two spots in the Astros' rotation next spring, along with Dallas Keuchel, Philip Humber, Jarred Cosart and Edgar Gonzalez, among others. General manager Jeff Luhnow said White has top-of-the-rotation potential.

White, 24, appeared in 23 games last season for Colorado (20 starts) and was 2-9 with a 5.51 ERA. A closer look at the numbers reveals his second half was better than Jordan Lyles, Keuchel and Humber. White was 0-2 with a 3.51 ERA in 10 starts, allowing 40 hits and four homers in 41 innings.

"I really felt like I was throwing the ball well after I got called back up in August," he said. "The pitch count we had in Denver hindered my ability to get any wins, but it was a big confidence-booster. I felt like I was throwing the ball well and getting outs when I needed them. I think a move to the bullpen just set me back a little bit, but other than that, the second half was great for my growing-up process."

White was taken in the first round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft by Cleveland and later dealt to Colorado as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez trade. White split his 2012 season between Colorado and Triple-A Colorado Springs, going 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA in 11 starts in the Minors. He allowed 54 hits in 60 2/3 innings.

The chance to be part of a rebuilding organization at this point in his career sits well with White.

"I came up with Cleveland, maybe the first year they were really in a race in 2011," he said. "When I came up in April, it was a great experience. We were playing for something and really just trying to stay in the race. The flip side, it's really learning the game and learning at that level. Nothing prepares you to play in the Major Leagues, and I've been able to get some time there and really get the experience I need to succeed."

A fierce competitor, White throws a split-fingered fastball, slider, curveball and has four-seam and two-seam fastballs. He focused on trying to keep ball out of the air in Denver and shouldn't have to adjust his game plan much at Minute Maid Park.

"I really pride myself on getting outs and doing it however I have to do it," he said.

As he prepares for his first Spring Training in Florida, White has been throwing and working out at his home in Greenville, N.C. Next season will bring a new set of challenges and another opportunity to prove he's ready to hold down a spot in the Major League rotation.

Houston Astros, Alex White