First Opening Day brings butterflies for Hamilton

First Opening Day brings butterflies for Hamilton

CINCINNATI -- Billy Hamilton experienced his first big league games in September. But Opening Day was another experience altogether, and the Reds center fielder knew it.

After he cemented his starting job in the leadoff spot during Spring Training, Hamilton had plenty of anticipation.

"I couldn't sleep last night," Hamilton said before Monday's opener vs. the Cardinals. "I'd sleep about 30 minutes, wake up, sleep 30 more minutes and was just thinking about the game. I feel like I'm back in my high school championship game."

Hamilton batted .327 with a .381 on-base percentage while going 9-for-9 in steals to impress at the plate during camp.

"I got done what I needed to get done," Hamilton said. "I felt like I got better as a player. I've just got to change over from Spring Training to now."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.