Bryce Harper wasn't the only super sophomore who posted a powerful performance on opening day. Over in Pittsburgh, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo keyed his team to a 3-1 win over the Pirates with a two-run homer off A.J. Burnett in the first inning on Monday.
Rizzo's blast on the first pitch he saw was big because the rest of Chicago's lineup had trouble against Burnett, striking out 10 times over 5 2/3 innings. But it was also big because it flew an estimated 440 feet out of PNC Park and represented Rizzo's first home run of 2013. Not just in the regular season, but in spring training and World Baseball Classic action, too.
Rizzo hit .229 in preseason play for the Cubs, but did help lead Italy to the second round of the WBC with two doubles and six RBI over five games:
''I don't really remember the pitch or where I hit it or whatever,'' Rizzo told reporters afterward the win on Monday. ''It was just kind of blacked out there for a second."
Is there more in store for the 23-year-old potential franchise cornerstone this season? After a 2012 season that saw Rizzo hit 15 homers with a .805 OPS over 87 games, the Cubs are sure hoping so.