"That's kinda the way we're feeling with myself and Snell right now. It's a great honor."Duke said Tracy told him Wednesday morning that he would get the Opening Day nod, but he couldn't disclose it because Tracy wanted to explain his decision to others on the staff. He didn't want the media to disclose the news first.
Yet, now that he could talk about the decision, the 23-year-old Duke was happy to share his thoughts. He said he had a hard time sleeping Wednesday night as the thought and the excitement of Opening Day kept him tossing and turning.For him, this Opening Day assignment is even more special, because he'll be pitching in his native Texas. "It's especially big," he said. "It's Opening Day in Houston, and I know I'm going to have a lot of friends and family there. It's going to be a very special time." He said he appreciated Tracy's confidence in him, and he liked even more the fact that Tracy made the decision weeks in advance. It'll allow Duke to shake any jitters and not, as he put it, "psyche" himself out. "I can focus on it," Duke said. "But it's just the first game of the season, you know, and I can't put too much emphasis on it." Tracy agreed. "You want to get things like that out of the way, in my opinion, as quickly as possible, because I think it's very important that everybody realizes the ground they're standing on," he said. "The sooner you have the information available to you, the sooner you can move forward with things like that. "I think it's better for everyone involved."
Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less