MLB.com Columnist

Megan Zahneis

Suarez looking forward to first Opening Day

Reds' 3B motivated by challenge of replacing Frazier, will have family in stands April 4

Suarez looking forward to first Opening Day

Eugenio Suarez has big shoes to fill. The 24-year-old is slated to replace recently departed fan favorite Todd Frazier at third base in Cincinnati this season.

"That will be a challenge," Suarez readily acknowledges, especially given that he has 10 big league innings over three games at the hot corner under his belt.

"I work every day on my defense," Suarez said. "I try to be quick because the ball is coming quick. I gotta be ready. Also I practice every day the hard chop, the bad chops. Sometimes those happen in the game."

Spring Training information

Though he continues to hone his defensive skills, Suarez said he's confident in his ability to be an everyday third baseman. And for now, he just can't wait to prove it.

Suarez will get his chance starting April 4, when the Reds open the season against Philadelphia. In Cincinnati, Opening Day is a local holiday.

"They tell me Opening Day in Cincinnati is really special. Everybody watches us when we get on the field," Suarez said.

Suarez's RBI single

But for the Venezuela native, the home opener has added significance. Suarez's wife and parents will be on hand to watch him play, and his hometown of Puerto Ordaz is ready to tune in from 2,500 miles away.

"Everybody in my country and my city and my town is happy and ready to watch the game from Venezuela," Suarez said with a smile. "They tell me I'm doing a good job, and I'm ready. That moment will be special for me. It's special for everybody."

But for Suarez, the importance of the moment won't fully sink in until he's ready to take the field.

"I can't wait for that moment. You just think about that moment when I walk from the clubhouse to the field," Suarez said. "I [will] have a lot of things on my mind. [I'll] just try to play hard and enjoy the moment, because it's my first one, and I will try to make it good."

Megan Zahneis is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.