Originally written on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 3/30/13
HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Astros will make it official Sunday night when they face the Texas Rangers: They are an American League team -- after 50 years in the NL. Houston has baseball's lowest payroll and is coming off consecutive 100-loss seasons. Things won't get any easier in the powerful AL West, though. The Astros are optimistic they'll be much better than they were last season. Most everyone else figures it will be difficult for this team to avoid becoming the first team to lose at least 106 games in three straight seasons since the expansion Mets did it from 1962-65. On Sunday night 28-year-old Bud Norris, Houston's highest-paid player with a 3 million salary, will become the team's fourth opening day starter in four years. He's looking to bounce back from a tough season where he went 7-13. In the major league's first regular-season game, he'll face Texas left-hander and All-Star Matt Harrison, who went 18-11 in 2012 and signed a five-year contract worth 55 million in ...
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