HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Play ball! It's Opening Day for the 2023 Major League Baseball season, and the Houston Astros look a bit different off the bat.
Justin Verlander is now a New York Met, Yuli Gurriel is now a Miami Marlin, and Jose Altuve is out with a thumb injury. You can also count out starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. and leftfielder Michael Brantley, who were added to the 15-day injured list.
As Thursday evolved before the primetime game, the ballclub nailed down its lineup and 26-man roster, with a couple of notable omissions outside of the names mentioned above.
Two rookies - catcher Cesar Salazar and outfielder and Clear Brook High School alum Corey Julks - made the opening day roster.
Pitchers Parker Mushinski and Blake Taylor were also added to the 15-day IL. Finally, the Astros designated outfielder Bligh Madris and infielder JJ Matijevic for assignment, meaning they were effectively waived.
As for the players on the field for the first pitch, manager Dusty Baker is going with shortstop Jeremy Peña as the leadoff in the batting order, as well as tapping Mauricio Dubon to take Altuve's place at second base.
The full lineup and batting order:
- Jeremy Peña, SS
- Alex Bregman, 3B
- Yordan Alvarez, LF
- Jose Abreu, 1B
- Kyle Tucker, RF
- Yanier Diaz, DH
- Jake Meyers, CF
- Martin Maldonado, C
- Mauricio Dubon, 2B
With the Astros hosting the White Sox at Minute Maid Park to start a four-game series, it was Framber Valdez, the left-hander from the Dominican Republic, who started in his second straight opening day game with the roof closed.
The White Sox have a 81-81 overall record and were 44-37 in road games last season.
If you have a game ticket, fans will see a new gift shop out in Center Field where they'll be able to purchase new 'Stros swag.
Grammy-award-winning artist Megan Thee Stallion, country music star Cody Johnson, and actor Mark Wahlberg took care of pre-game ceremonies
SEE RELATED STORY: Megan Thee Stallion, Cody Johnson, Mark Wahlberg get starring roles on Astros' Opening Day
This would all cause traffic, but don't forget the Final Four fan events are also happening downtown, so there will be several street closures around the ballpark.
"I urge you to plan your days ahead of time, check out street closures information, identify parking, and look at your transportation options. Plan to come to downtown Houston early and stay late to make a day out of cycling through all of these incredible happenings," Mayor Sylvester Turner said during a press conference earlier this week.
Then on Friday, the Astros will all get their World Series rings.
If you don't have tickets to Friday's game yet, stop by the Shipley Do-Nuts at 8135 Interstate 10 Frontage Road for a chance to win tickets. The World Series trophy and the Shooting Stars will also be there.
For news updates, follow Chaz Miller on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.