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5 former Arizona players make MLB Opening Day rosters

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Former UA infielder Kevin Newman
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It’s felt like spring in Tucson for a while now, but the rest of the country is getting in on the act now that the 2019 Major League Baseball season has begun.

And of those 30 MLB teams in action, five feature former Arizona Wildcats on their Opening Day rosters.

One member of that quintet made his 2019 debut earlier than the rest, as catcher Nick Hundley played in both of the Oakland Athletics’ games last week against the Seattle Mariners in Japan. The 35-year-old Hundley is in his 12th big-league season, with Oakland being his fifth different organization.

Hundley played for Arizona from 2003-05 before going in the second round of the 2005 MLB Draft to the San Diego Padres.

Former Wildcat Joey Rickard, who played in Tucson from 2010-12, started in right field for the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday and went 0 for 4 in their 7-2 loss at the New York Yankees. Rickard is on Baltimore’s Opening Day roster for the second time in three years, and he’s coming off a 2018 season in which he hit .244 with eight home runs and 23 RBI in 79 games.

Also making Opening Day rosters were infielder Scott Kingery (2013-15) with the Philadelphia Phillies, reliever Mark Melancon (2004-06) with the San Francisco Giants and infielder Kevin Newman (2013-15) with the Pittsburgh Pirates. All three played in the majors with those teams a year ago, with Kingery and Newman entering their second big-league seasons while Melancon is beginning his 11th year in The Show.