PITTSBURGH -- Could Brock Holt's Major League debut have commanded as much attention even if he was not a 5-foot-10 dynamo?
Probably. But it would not have felt nearly as good for the 24-year-old who proves that not everything is bigger in Texas.
"I wanted to do well this year and prove some people wrong," said Holt. "Prove to them that I can play this game, and play it at the highest level."
He has done pretty well with that agenda: .322 in Double-A Altoona, .432 in Triple-A Indianapolis, and now six hits in his first 13 big league at-bats (.462).
"I'm not the biggest guy, and I've always heard that. I've had to prove myself every step for the way," Holt said Wednesday afternoon before making his fourth straight start at second base, but the first against a left-hander, the Astros' Fernando Abad. "Out of high school to get into junior college, then in junior college to get a scholarship to a bigger college [Rice University in Texas], and then in college to get drafted.
"I just continue to go out and play my game and enjoy it. I've been able to do that, and hopefully I can keep going."
"He's made a pretty good first impression," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "It's not an accident that the kid has hit everywhere he's been. He can swing the bat."
A parlor game customary for new faces -- "Who does he remind you of?" -- has begun with Holt. Many see in him a lot of David Eckstein, the 5-foot-6 two-time World Series-winning shortstop (with the 2002 Angels and the '06 Cardinals). While Hurdle had his own candidate (Larry Bowa), the manager had an even better suggestion:
"Let him be Brock Holt, and let him keep going out there swinging it."