You only get one first big league at bat. Each professional baseball player gets but one opportunity to dig in for the very first time or toe the rubber for the first time. It becomes a part of who they are, a story they surely carry with them and tell for the rest of their lives.
Tony Cingrani and Didi Gregorius didn’t actually make their big league debuts last night, both men earning their first taste of the show late last season as members of the Cincinnati Reds. After an off-season trade moved Gregorius to Arizona and an early April injury moved Reds ace Johnny Cueto to the disabled list, last night was the first chance for these players to move into their true roles: Gregorius as a starting shortstop and Cingrani as a starting pitcher.
Didi Gregorius made 20 plate appearances for the Reds last year, grabbing six hits in the late September void. Last night, making his first plate appearance for the Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium of all places, Gregorius introduced himself in style, lashing a low fastball from Phil Hughes into the right field seats.
Not a bad way to ingratiate yourself with a new group of teammates. Not sure how many home runs Didi Gregorius will hit at the big league level but safe to say he’ll remember his first one.
Tony Cingrani of the Cincinnati Reds made a heck of an impression in his first big league start last night. His start at home against the Miami Marlins represents about as soft a landing place as a big leaguer-to-be could ever hope for.
Cingrani opposed Marlins ace-elect Jose Fernandez and learned something Reds pitchers already know very well – run support is terrific! The Reds pounded Marlins pitching (as one is wont to do) for eleven runs while Cingrani more than held his own, striking out eight in five innings of work, allowing just five hits and one run. The lone black mark was a home run off the bat of Justin Ruggiano.
Cingrani used his fastball/changeup/slider mix to coax 10 swinging strikes out of the hapless Marlins, touching 95 with his fastball while sitting around 92, according to Brooks Baseball.
Not every start comes against the AAAA Marlins or the homer-prone Phil Hughes. But the 2013 debuts of Cingrani and Gregorius should give Reds fans and that one DBacks fan reason for optimism in the future.
And the rest
The Orioles have extra magic in 2013. Extra innings victory? Of course. But why score just one run when four is even more fun? Matt Wieters walkoff tetra tot.
A tale of two Uptons [Baseball Analytics]
Let this be a lesson to you, kids. Never drink and drive or else you will go out like nothing ever happened and hit a GD home run like it’s nothing. [Brewers.com]