Parmelee, Hendriks savor first Opening Day

Parmelee, Hendriks savor first Opening Day

BALTIMORE -- After last year's disappointing season that saw the Twins lose 99 games, the club experienced plenty of roster turnover, as evidenced by the fact that 14 of the club's 25 players are celebrating their first Opening Day with the Twins.

It's a combination of new additions such as Ryan Doumit, Josh Willingham, Jamey Carroll, Sean Burroughs, Matt Maloney, Jeff Gray and Jared Burton, along with younger players who are experiencing their first Opening Days, like Chris Parmelee, Ben Revere, Trevor Plouffe, Luke Hughes, Anthony Swarzak, Alex Burnett and Liam Hendriks.

Of that group, only Parmelee and Hendriks qualify as rookies, and both were thrilled to participate in their first Opening Day.

Parmelee started at first base and batted eighth, while Hendriks is scheduled to start against the Orioles on Sunday.

"It's awesome," Parmelee said. "It's one of those things where it's an honor. It's Opening Day. It's what we all live for. In the offseason, we all look forward to Opening Day, so it's pretty special."

Parmelee, 24, built on his impressive numbers as a September callup with a solid spring, and will be the club's starter at first base with Justin Morneau serving as designated hitter.

"Parmelee was a great story," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He came up and played well last year, and with the situation with Morneau, he didn't make the club by default, he earned it. He saved us because with Morneau DHing, we'd be scuffling to find a first baseman."

Hendriks, 23, is getting the chance to open the year in the rotation, as right-handers Scott Baker (elbow) and Jason Marquis (family matter) weren't ready to start the season.

"It's pretty exciting," Hendriks said. "I was pretty excited when I found out. I feel like I had a pretty good spring, but I came into spring not even thinking about making the club. But it's always nice, so hopefully I'll be able to take advantage of it."