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P Myers content with Houston

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Brett Myers lobbed pitches to his 4-year-old son on a practice field on the second day of Houston Astros spring training, happy and relaxed in his new setting.

For the first time in his major-league career, Myers is starting a season with a team other than Philadelphia.

He may have some hard feelings about how things ended after eight years with the Phillies, but he'd rather look ahead to this season.

"It's definitely business," Myers said Monday. "That's fine, they wanted to go in a different direction. Like I've always said, there are 29 other teams out there, hopefully, that need somebody like me. Houston's a good fit for me, hopefully, I can play here for a while."

The Astros signed the 29-year-old Myers to a one-year, $3.1 million contract with a mutual option for 2011. He's likely to fill the No. 3 spot in the starting rotation behind Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez.

Myers went 73-63 in 240 appearances for the Phillies between 2002-09. He started Game 2 of the 2008 World Series, appeared in seven playoff games and started Philadelphia's last three season openers.

Instead of feeling sentimental, Myers said on the day he signed with the Astros that he wanted to "stick it" to the Phillies when he faces them. And he did say he needed a change of scenery anyway because he felt like he was "the goat a lot when things would go bad in Philly."

Otherwise, Myers feels like it's the start of just another season.

"I put the uniform on, it feels the same," Myers said. "I definitely wanted to stay somewhere where they have spring training in Florida, because I'm from up north in Jacksonville. It was a pretty easy decision to come here. My family liked it when we went to Houston, I liked it, so it wasn't that big of an adjustment."

Houston general manager Ed Wade was the Phillies' GM in 1999, when the team signed Myers. Wade thought the Astros needed another dependable starter this past offseason and he settled on Myers, excess baggage and all.

And there's plenty of that.

In June 2006, Myers was arrested and charged with striking his wife during an argument in Boston. The charge was dismissed over the objection of prosecutors because Myers' wife agreed to an affidavit showing she did not want the charge pursued.

A year later, Myers got into a well-publicized argument in the clubhouse with a Philadelphia reporter. The two had to be separated by players and other reporters.

Last year, Myers said he fell stepping out of his car and injured his eye. Initially, Myers said he was hurt playing catch with his son, Kolt, and said later he "felt embarrassed" to explain what really happened.

Wade says he's seen Myers "grow and mature," and he vouched for his character when he discussed the pitcher with team owner Drayton McLane and other executives.

"There are times when Brett's been misunderstood, and I think there are times when Brett's been clearly understood, plus or minus," Wade said with a smile. "At times, over the course of his career, he had to be reeled in a little bit at different points in time. I handled it myself a few times over there in Philly.

"All that said, this is a guy, by our scouts' reports, who still has a lot left in the tank and the ability to move into the middle of our rotation and be very successful."

Myers' durability came into question after he missed two months in 2007 with a right shoulder strain, then sat out three months last year following hip surgery. Wade said Myers' hip injury is "resolved" and Myers said he proved that by making eight appearances in the final month of last season.

Myers said switching teams won't change his personality. He promised to be just as outspoken in Houston, not afraid to confront a teammate if he sees a work habit he doesn't like.

He'll also look for every opportunity to convey his championship experience to a young team trying to become a playoff contender.

"I'm not gonna be shy," he said. "I'll get on somebody's rear end if I have to, because I want to win. Some of these guys haven't ever been to the playoffs. Some of the younger guys here, I'll try to give them some insight, because I was in their shoes at some point."