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Fiers fired up to make Astros debut

Newly acquired righty starts Tuesday vs. Rangers

HOUSTON -- Though the newest Astros pitcher comes to the clubhouse sporting a full beard, lockermate Dallas Keuchel shouldn't worry.

"I grew it out for a while about a month ago," Mike Fiers said before Sunday's 4-1 Astros win over the D-backs. "I think I just got lazy at the time and I just let it go. I'll try to keep it somewhat tame here. I don't think it'll get as wild as Keuchel, even though he keeps it pretty groomed."

Fiers arrived in Houston late Saturday night after being acquired from Milwaukee along with Carlos Gomez on Thursday. Set to make his Astros debut on six days' rest Tuesday against the Rangers, Fiers threw a bullpen session with pitching coach Brett Strom before Sunday's series finale against the D-backs.

Fiers joins a club in the midst of a strong playoff push -- a situation he admitted he's not too familiar with, but one he's not scared to embrace.

"This is an opportunity for me to really show Houston what I can do and that I can do it in a race to make the playoffs," Fiers said. "I'm just so excited for the opportunity. Ready to pitch on Tuesday and give everything I got to this organization."

A four-pitch pitcher who occasionally mixes in a slider and sinker, Fiers said he thrives on being the attacker when he's on the mound -- a direct result of that aggression is his 121 strikeouts through 118 innings.

"I challenge guys," Fiers said. "I'm very good when I'm aggressive, so just going after hitters, being myself, working inside, outside, up and down the strike zone. Throwing all my pitches in every count, keeping hitters off balance, just competing, really. Once you're competing, everything else sets aside. I want to be aggressive out there, really start going after hitters."

A visitor to Minute Maid Park a few times, Fiers has never pitched in the ballpark nor can he recall playing with many of the current Astros aside from a few Winter League or Minor League games.

He's excited to get acclimated, though.

"I'm just looking to do the same thing I've done in Milwaukee, start every fifth day or whatever it is and pitch to my ability and not try to do anything different," Fiers said. "[It's a ] new team, going to try to get that excitement out before I get out to pitch and just do my thing out there when I pitch."

Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for
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