Even a little afternoon rain couldn’t dampen Austin House’s mood Friday afternoon. The Albuquerque native was home and gearing up to pitch for the Isotopes for the first time.
“It’s awesome, I went to Taco Cabana this morning, which is nice, got some good food in me, some green chile, some posole,” House said with a smile. “I’m super amped to be here, I love Albuquerque; when I got the call (Thursday) I was super excited about it.”
House, 25, was born and raised in Albuquerque. He pitched at La Cueva High School and then at the University of New Mexico.
The Oakland A’s drafted him in the 14th round out of UNM in 2012. The Colorado Rockies then acquired him during the 2014-15 offseason in exchange for outfielder/first baseman Mark Canha.
House racked up a team-high 20 saves for Double-A New Britain last year. He started this campaign with the new Hartford affiliate, tossing six scoreless innings while picking up one win and one save.
“I feel good, everything’s gone pretty well,” House said. “I feel like I’m throwing the ball pretty well, my arm feels good.
“It’s nice to be back in a little bit warmer weather compared to the Northeast. It’s been pretty cold up there so hopefully the ball comes out a little bit better here than it did out there.”
The Isotopes got to add House to the roster due to a flurry of moves Friday by the Rockies. Albuquerque relievers Carlos Estevez and Gonzalez Germen were both recalled, opening up two spots that were then filled by House and first baseman Cody Decker, who was acquired from the Kansas City Royals earlier in the week.
House will be the fifth former Lobo to play for the Isotopes, joining the likes of pitchers Jimmy Serrano, Steve Smith, Scott Strickland and outfielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez. House joins Cavazos-Galvez as the only local high school products to play for the club, which also means he will have to scrounge up as many tickets as possible.
“It’s actually my dad’s birthday today, so he was pretty happy about that, he said that’s the best birthday present I’ve ever gave him, so I was pretty excited about that,” House said. “My mom was pretty excited, too, she was there to pick me up (from the airport).”
House said he is used to dealing with a lot of requests when it comes to home games. He played all of his college games at Isotopes Park.
“I went to UNM, so it’s kind of the same difference after high school,” House said. “You just have to treat it as 60 feet, 6 inches, the only thing you can really control is throwing the baseball, throwing strikes, getting people out.”
Albuquerque and Reno will conclude their four-game series Friday at 7:05 p.m. The Isotopes are going for the series sweep and their fifth straight victory.