By Dan Apple, FloridaGators.com
Seven former Florida baseball players made opening day rosters.
Two players made their Major League debut Thursday. Pete Alonso, a second-round pick by the New York Mets in 2016, started at first base for the Mets in their opener against the Nationals.
“It was awesome. It felt like a big — not a monkey, but a gorilla hopped off my back,” Alonso said.
Richie Martin, a 2015 first-round pick by the Oakland A’s, was selected in the Rule 5 draft by Baltimore last offseason. On Thursday, he made his MLB debut as the starting shortstop for the Orioles.
With Alonso and Martin getting the call, 17 former Florida players have reached the Major Leagues since 2012.
Outfielder Harrison Bader, in his third season with the St. Louis Cardinals, homered in his first at bat of the season. Catcher Mike Zunino made his debut Thursday with the Tampa Bay Rays after spending six seasons with the Seattle Mariners.
Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani is slated to start on the mound for the Cincinnati Reds on Monday while left-hander Brian Johnson remains a veteran piece of the Boston Red Sox bullpen. Righty Darren O’Day will start the season on the 10-day disabled list for the Atlanta Braves.