Wacha tabbed to start home opener

Wacha tabbed to start home opener

JUPITER, Fla. -- The last time he was on the Busch Stadium mound, right-hander Michael Wacha was pitching the Cardinals into the World Series. His next start there will usher in the club's 2014 home schedule.

In announcing the Cardinals' plans to have Wacha pitch behind Adam Wainwright in Cincinnati next week, manager Mike Matheny confirmed that it will be Wacha who starts the club's home opener on April 7 against the Reds. It's an honor that Wacha said he is "excited about," but one that is not monopolizing his focus.

Wacha is scheduled to make one more spring start on Thursday and pitch on the road against the Reds on April 2, before the Cardinals' first homestand.

"It's definitely an honor," Wacha said. "Just like all the other starts last year, I'll just try not to let the moment get too big. [I'll] just concentrate on my first start, really, in Cincinnati. I'm going to take it one game at a time and not really look forward ahead of my first start."

"It's an honor," Matheny added, "but I don't think it needs to get in the way of what each of these guys needs to do and how they need to prepare."

This won't just be the first time Wacha pitches the home opener -- it will be the first time he's even been at Busch Stadium for one. Last year, Wacha opened the season in Triple-A. He earned his first big league call up in late May.

Because the Cardinals and Reds play six times in the first 10 days of the season, Wacha's first two starts will both be against Cincinnati. In his only start against the Reds last season, Wacha threw six scoreless innings, allowing three hits.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.