2023 Astros Spring Training begins Thursday as World Series champs reach full 40-man roster

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Tuesday, February 14, 2023
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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A waiver-wire pickup of a 30-year-old relief pitcher who made his MLB debut just last season won't exactly move earth and sea for the most casual of Astros fans, but it's significant given what that player represents as spring training starts within days.

Matt Gage, a left-handed hurler, was added to the World Series champs' roster as a waiver claim from the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday. He becomes the 40th player on the Astros' roster, fulfilling the maximum number of players the ball club can carry heading into Thursday's start of spring training.

Gage made his MLB debut last June and went on to pitch in 11 games.

The video above is from Feb. 9, 2023.

Gage, newly-extended star Cristian Javier, and the team's pitchers and catchers are the first to report to West Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday. The full roster joins in five days later on Feb. 21.

Aside from familiar names like Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, the 'Stros will have 21 non-roster invites also competing for the team.

SEE MORE: ABC13's Astros spring training coverage

Astros' offseason moves draw middling grade

There's already a lot of pressure on Houston to repeat as world champs, especially when other ball clubs are throwing big money at generational talent for a shot at dethroning the Astros.

How did the 'Stros do to reload for a repeat? Meh, according to David Schoenfield, ESPN's senior MLB writer.

Schoenfield's feature posted on Tuesday recognizes the challenge the club faced especially with a front office transitioning from one regime to the next. That said, the Astros, as Schoenfield wrote, faced the impossible task of replacing outgoing Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander.

"The biggest mistake most World Series champions make is to simply bring everyone back and expect the same results," Schoenfield wrote. "That's mostly what the Astros did in an offseason spent without a general manager after owner Jim Crane parted ways with James Click in early November and didn't hire Dana Brown until late January."

The feature went on to recognize Javier's multi-year contract extension as a positive, but questioned whether the roster will be able to keep up with the Mets and Yankees, who both got A grades, with four players in their 30s: Altuve, Jose Abreu, Michael Brantley, and Martin Maldonado.

You can read more about the Astros' offseason grade, as well as how the teams in the majors stacked up by joining ESPN+, which offers exclusive articles, live streaming events, and your favorite ESPN programs like SportsCenter and the 30 for 30 series.

You can also save 40% a month by getting the Disney Bundle, which not only gives you ESPN+, but Hulu and Disney+.

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