Astros make pit stop at Minute Maid Park for final 2 exhibition games

HOUSTON – Six weeks in Florida enabled the Astros to prepare for the new 2019 campaign, but everyone inside the clubhouse couldn't get back to Houston soon enough.

While most of the team returned, the starting pitchers stayed back to prepare and will join the team in Tampa on Wednesday.

The Astros are back in town briefly to host their final two exhibition games Monday night and Tuesday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Opening Day is Thursday. The Astros visit Tampa to take on the Rays in the opening series. The opener will feature two Cy Young candidates -- Justin Verlander and Blake Snell.

Snell was 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA last year and won the Cy Young Award.

The Astros and Rays season opener is set for 3 p.m. Thursday at Tropicana Field.