"It's an honor," said McHugh, who was called up last April. "Any time you get a chance to play in the first week of April, it means a lot. For me, I'm not going to take it for granted. I'm going to enjoy every second of it."
Springer, like McHugh, also spent most of last season on the Astros' roster, being called up shortly after Opening Day. Springer made his debut on April 16 but wound up missing the final three months of the season with a quad injury.
"It's extremely special," said Springer, whose parents were in the stands. "It's right up there with April 16 of last year. I'm excited about it."
Astros manager A.J. Hinch isn't new to Opening Day as a player or a manager, but he still understands how special it is. Hinch said his mother, sister and niece were in the stands from Oklahoma, where he grew up. He even pulled his kids from school halfway through the day.
"Every Opening Day in the big leagues is special," Hinch said. "It's hard to describe, but you can't help but get excited. It's a sleepless night the night before. You have anxiousness, a lot of excitement. The true Opening Day feel begins about a week before the season starts, and now we get a chance to see it on the field."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.