Philip Humber is asked the same questions he has answered so many times before. TV and still cameras highlight his soft, bearded face. Digital recorders and notepads capture his quiet replies.

Humber, 30, answers because he has to. The Astros righthander knows he’s a feel-good story on a young, rebuilding team.

As a sophomore, Humber was the winning pitcher in Rice’s 2003 national championship-clinching game. Now, the Tyler resident’s shooting for the back end of the Astros’ rotation. Humber is just six spring-training weeks away from taking the mound at Minute Maid Park, which is just six miles from Rice.

Humber threw the 21st perfect game in major league history last season, hurling a line of zeros and striking out nine during a 4-0 Chicago White Sox shutout of Seattle on April 21.