Rizzo's Debut Is Wildly Successful

Padres Win Big in Rookie's 1st MLB Game

By Derek Togerson
|  Thursday, Jun 9, 2011  |  Updated 10:58 PM PDT
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Rizzo's Debut Is Wildly Successful

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Anthony Rizzo's debut gave Padres fans reason to smile.

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Nobody knows what kind of Major League career Anthony Rizzo will have. But, no matter what happens from here on out, he will always remember his tremendous MLB debut.

The Padres' 21-year-old 1st baseman hit a triple, scored a run, drew a pair of walks, and lit a bonfire under the San Diego baseball fan base on Thursday night. It was all part of a 7-3 Padres win over the Washington Nationals.

"The thing that stood out to me," said manager Bud Black, "he looked like he belonged on the field. From the time the game started, he looked poised. He looked composed. He looked in control of his game."

Rizzo's first at-bat ended with a strikeout on a bad call by home plate umpire John Hirschbeck. His second at-bat ended on 3rd base. Rizzo hammered a Livan Hernandez pitch half way up the left-centerfield wall, missing a home run by just a foot or two. Rizzo, who has deceptive speed for a 6'3", 220-pound man, sprinted around for a stand-up triple and his first Big League hit. Anthony scored on a Chris Denorfia groundout to give the Padres a 3-1 lead.

The rookie phenom walked in his next two at-bats, but his excitement was far from over. In the 7th inning, he ended up in the stands trying to chase down a foul pop-up. The hustle earned him an ovation from a PETCO Park crowd that was happy to see the man they hope becomes a superstar has a blue-collar work ethic.

After the game, Rizzo was doing his postgame interview when Mat Latos made the Big League debut complete by performing another rite of passage. Latos hit Rizzo in the face with a cream pie. That episode brought out the rookie's biggest smile of the night.

"I'm like a little kid right now," said Rizzo. "I'm just honored to be here. It's been a fun ride so far."

Rizzo will be back in the lineup Friday night against the Nationals. How much further his ride goes after that is a matter of  great speculation, and even greater possibilities.

However long it lasts, It's gonna be awfully fun to watch.

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