Thirty teams have their eyes on October in 2017. Twelve of them started getting their dreams in gear today.
Spring Training has sprung, and Feb. 15 is the second official first-workout date for Major League pitchers and catchers. Sixteen teams had their first workouts on Tuesday, and a dozen more take the field at camps in Arizona and Florida to begin the push of the baseball season. The remaining two (the Dodgers and Nationals) will follow suit on Thursday.
Houston Astros: The big addition on the pitcher-catcher front for the retooling Astros is backstop Brian McCann, who brings a still-potent bat and leadership behind the plate. Houston will need better starting pitching than it got last year. Hopes are high for a Cy Young Young Award-caliber rebound by ace Dallas Keuchel, plus solid work from Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers, new acquisition Charlie Morton and holdover Mike Fiers. Ken Giles comes back as closer.
Los Angeles Angels: Injuries ravaged the Angels' rotation in 2016 and there's still uncertainty there, but there are a lot of contenders for starting-pitching spots. Garrett Richards heads the pack after opting for treatment rather than surgery for his partially torn UCL. Tyler Skaggs comes in healthy after his own Tommy John recovery shortened his '16 season to 10 starts. Ricky Nolasco and Matt Shoemaker will provide innings, the Angels signed Jesse Chavez to start, and depth will be provided by a cast that includes Alex Meyer. A healthy Huston Street will try to win back the closer's role, but Cam Bedrosian should push him. As of now, it'll be between Martin Maldonado and Carlos Perez for starting-catching duties.