Baseball is back! The Houston Astros open this season as the defending World Series Champions for the first time in their history. Pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, along with the position players, as exhibition games are starting this Friday.

The Astros didn't rest on last season's success this off-season as they were very active in bringing in even more pitching reinforcements. They added Pittsburgh Pirates ace, Gerrit Cole and reliable back-end of the bullpen pieces in Joe Smith and Hector Rondon.

On Saturday all three pitchers, plus Justin Verlander threw off the bullpen mounds in West Palm Beach, FL.

The back-end of the bullpen was a bit of a question mark last season but with adding Smith and Rondon the bridge should be a little bit stronger to whomever wins the closer job this spring training.

The addition of Cole provides even more depth to an already deep staff of strong starting pitchers, making it arguably one of the best in the bigs.


For all my sports posts and to hear my inner sports thoughts, make sure to keep up with me on Twitter and Facebook.