Feb 16, 2023 - Sports

Astros pitchers and catchers report for spring training

Astros' Ryne Stanek throws a pitch during a Grapefruit League game in 2022

Ryne Stanek and others are returning in 2023. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Baseball is back. Well, sort of.

Driving the news: Astros pitchers and catchers reported Wednesday to West Palm Beach, Florida, for spring training, ahead of their 2023 campaign to become the first team to win back-to-back World Series since the Yankees won three in a row from 1998 to 2000.

State of play: Four significant league changes this season — all aiming to either increase action or speed up play — will debut in spring training.

  • Shift restrictions: Defenses must have a minimum of four players on the infield dirt, with at least two on either side of second base to increase the batting average on balls in play.
  • Pitch clock: A 30-second timer between batters and 15-20 seconds between pitches depending on whether the bases are empty.
  • Limited pickoffs: Pitchers may only attempt two pickoffs per at-bat when there's a runner on first, which should increase stolen base attempts.
  • Bigger bases: 15-inch bases have been replaced with 18-inch bases. Bigger bases mean shorter base paths, so expect more infield singles and successful steals.

State of the team: The majority of the team will return in 2023, save for a few familiar faces.

What we're watching: The rest of the Astros squad reports next week.

  • Opening Day is March 30 against the White Sox, but Grapefruit League play begins Feb. 25.
  • Spring-training and regular-season games will be streamed on AT&T SportsNet.

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