First opener a thrill for least experienced Astros
HOUSTON -- For the eight Astros players who were appearing on an Opening Day roster for the first time, Tuesday's game against the Yankees at Minute Maid Park was nothing short of a special day that won't be forgotten any time soon.
"I get to wear an Astros uniform today," said outfielder Robbie Grossman, who grew up in Houston. "That's special. I'm just excited for the games to start and for the season."
Astros manager Bo Porter said he met with the team on Sunday, and the players gave each of the first-time Opening Day players a round of applause.
Not only was it the first Opening Day in a Major League uniform for Grossman, but it was his first Major League Opening Day of any kind. He said he never came to the Astrodome or Minute Maid Park to watch the Astros while growing up, and he wasn't alone; teammate Marc Krauss was in the same boat.
"I guess we never could get out of school or could convince my parents," said Krauss, who grew up in northern Ohio. "Just to be part of this for the first time is very special."
Krauss nailed down an Opening Day slot with a terrific spring at the plate, and it doesn't hurt that he can play right field, left field, first base and designated hitter. His wife and baby were among his family contingent in the stands.
"It's what I worked for my whole career, especially this offseason," Krauss said. "I worked extra hard knowing I had a chance. This is why you do all that stuff, to get to this point. It's exciting. I finally got to this point, and I'm just excited to enjoy the day. It's going to be great."
Outfielder L.J. Hoes, who was acquired in a trade from the Orioles last year, was in the starting lineup, playing right field. Hoes said he slept for only about three hours on Monday night because he was excited and spent time talking to his parents about Opening Day.
"It's something they're all excited for and something I'm excited for," Hoes said.
Joining Grossman, Hoes and Krauss on their first Opening Day roster were Kevin Chapman, Jarred Cosart, Dallas Keuchel, Brett Oberholtzer and Jonathan Villar.