PITTSBURGH -- Every Opening Day stirs everyone's butterflies and emotions, because the first game of a season comes only once. But if it is your first Opening Day -- one can only imagine the buzz. Nearly one-third of the Pirates were experiencing their very first big league Opening Day: infielders Josh Harrison and Yamaico Navarro; outfielder Alex Presley, pitchers Jared Hughes and Tony Watson; catcher Michael McKenry and first baseman Matt Hague. Hague is the only one among them who was also digesting his very first day in a Major League uniform.
"Right now, I'm just trying to bottle my emotions," Hague said on the field, between batting-practice turns. Hague had little luck with keeping his emotions in check Wednesday night while phoning his parents with the news that he'd made the club. "My mom was crying," he said. "My dad was excited and happy." Hague's folks, Washington state residents, will soon get their first in-person look at their big league son on the Pirates' upcoming West Coast trip. Hague was not in Thursday's Opening Day lineup against Roy Halladay, but could be in there on Saturday as the Phillies start a left-hander (Cliff Lee). Would it make a difference to him whether his first big league at-bat came off the bench, or as a starter? "No. Whatever happens, I'll just try to be ready and give a good at-bat," he said.