It was fantastic being reunited with my old USC teammates Jason Lane and Morgan Ensberg in Houston last season. I had just as much fun playing with those guys in '06 as I did when we played together in college.

We were part of a pretty good team at USC. We won a national championship, so I think that speaks for itself. We were the best in the country for one year and that was awesome. We had some memorable times together.

When you're in college, you don't really know how your career or anyone else's is going to turn out. Obviously everyone has the dream to play in the big leagues, but it can't happen for everyone. For it to happen to the three of us is pretty unique and gratifying.

One of the great things about baseball is that you develop friendships with other players from the time you're in high school. Then you often cross paths again as your careers take different directions. I'd have felt comfortable with Oakland this past year, too. I played with Barry Zito at USC and I played high school ball with Eric Chavez.

I grew up with Eric in San Diego and we went to high school together. I could always tell he was a special player and I figured that he had a great chance to make it to the big leagues. I also played against Zito in high school before playing with him at USC.

Coming to Houston for the first time, it was just nice to walk into the clubhouse and have some familiar faces looking back at me. Anytime you have the opportunity to play with someone you have some history with, it makes the transition that much easier.

The Astros have a great group of guys and a great clubhouse. I had a lot of fun when I was part of it.

Catcher Eric Munson, 28, who recently signed a Minor League contract with the Astros, hit five home runs and had 19 RBIs in 53 games during two stints with Houston in 2006. He started 30 games behind the plate for the Astros and also played for Triple-A Round Rock. With USC in the late '90s, he was named the Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA regional during his sophomore and junior campaigns before being drafted in the first round (third overall) by Detroit in '99.