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Cutch gets Phillies career started with homer

@ToddZolecki
March 28, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- Andrew McCutchen looks pretty good in that leadoff spot, huh? McCutchen crushed a 2-0 fastball from Braves right-hander Julio Teheran into the left-center-field seats for a 428-foot leadoff home run in the first inning Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. McCutchen signed a three-year, $50 million contract with

PHILADELPHIA -- Andrew McCutchen looks pretty good in that leadoff spot, huh?

McCutchen crushed a 2-0 fastball from Braves right-hander Julio Teheran into the left-center-field seats for a 428-foot leadoff home run in the first inning Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. McCutchen signed a three-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies in December. They decided recently that he would be their leadoff hitter.

"It was good to be able to do that in your first at-bat, you know?" McCutchen said following a 10-4 Opening Day victory. "Homers are fun."

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It was McCutchen's 13th career leadoff homer and his first since Sept. 16 against Toronto. It was the third time in franchise history that a Phillies player hit a leadoff homer on Opening Day. Heinie Mueller (birth name Emmett Jerome Mueller) hit a leadoff homer against Brooklyn's Van Mungo on April 19, 1938, at Baker Bowl. It was Mueller's first plate appearance in the big leagues. Cesar Hernandez hit one against Reds right-hander Scott Feldman on April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Phillies fans stood and cheered as McCutchen jogged to left field to start the second inning. He removed his cap and bowed his head twice: First to the fans in left field and then to the fans down the left-field line.

"They showed me love and I've got to show it back," McCutchen said. "That's the way I look at it. Have a lot of fun with them. It was awesome."

McCutchen entered the season hitting .274 with a .367 on-base percentage and a .469 slugging percentage in the leadoff spot. He hit .259 with a .414 on-base percentage and a .471 slugging percentage in 49 games last season.

"[Pitchers] got to lock in from first pitch," McCutchen said when asked why he likes hitting first. "I think that helps us out as a team. That helps me out as well being in the box and knowing that this guy, he's trying to lock in from pitch one. He's not just giving me a get-me-over 90-mph fastball right down the middle, because he knows that I can do something with that. I think it's beneficial for the team and I think it's beneficial for me."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .