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Astros introduce starting pitcher Gerrit Cole

HOUSTON – The Houston Astros officially introduced starting pitcher Gerrit Cole Wednesday afternoon.

The 'Stros traded pitchers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, along with third baseman Colin Moran and outfielder Jason Martin to the Pirates in exchange for Cole. The deal was announced Saturday.

"It was a really good phone call. How do you ask for anything more to be coming to the world champions?" Cole said.

Cole said he was excited to work with catcher Brian McCann and veteran starter Justin Verlander.

"I'm looking forward to working with Brian McCann and I'm looking forward to a new approach. There are some things that the Astros do that are different, so I'm looking forward to hearing those things," Cole said.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said by adding Cole to a rotation featuring Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., Charlie Morton and Collin McHugh, he expects to win every time the team shows up to the ballpark.

"I think we got better the day the deal was finalized. For us to be able to start an exceptional starting pitcher every day has been a staple of our success. He adds to the mix of quality starters on a quality team," Hinch said.

When asked if he watched the Astros in the World Series, Cole said he attended Game 2 and hadn't ever seen a ballgame like that.

Cole was the Pirates' ace for the past several seasons. In 2015, he finished fourth in National League Cy Young voting. He was 19-8, with a 2.60 ERA that season.

Last season Cole was 12-12 with a 4.06 ERA while leading the league in starts with 33. He also finished second in the NL in home runs allowed with 33 in 203 innings pitched.

Prior to 2017, Cole had allowed only 36 home runs in 579.1 career innings pitched. 

On Friday, Cole and the Pirates agreed to a one-year contract worth $6.75 million to avoid arbitration. 

"The (Astros) organization values me very high and that always feels good as a player. It's refreshing to come to an environment where the team is willing to continually put resources into the club and continue to move forward and try to provide the best possible product for the fans," Cole said.