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New experience: defending division title

The Sports Xchange
 
New experience: defending division title · Notes, Quotes · Roster Report
 

The Reds entered Opening Day in a position they haven't been in for 10 years: coming off a winning season.

That gives the club confidence but also creates a bit of pressure.

"This year, there are expectations," right fielder Jay Bruce. "Last year, everybody hoped to win."

The Reds did win the National League Central last year, and they come back with essentially the same club. But there will be one notable difference Thursday when the take on the Milwaukee Brewers: Right-hander Edinson Volquez will be the starting pitcher.

Volquez's start will end a string of five straight Opening Day starts by Aaron Harang. The Reds did not pick up Harang's option, and he signed with San Diego.

The Reds open every year at home because they are baseball's old franchise. The day begins with a Findlay Market Parade and is full of pomp and ceremony. Volquez rode in the parade two years ago.

"It's big starting on Opening Day," Volquez said. "I talked to (special assistant) Mario Soto a lot about it."

Soto started six openers in the 1980s.

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