One of the key prospects acquired from the Red Sox in the off-season trade for Adrian Gonzalez, Rizzo has been tearing up the Triple-A Pacific Coast League to the point that the Padres could no longer keep him down on the farm.
Even Padres General Manager Jed Hoyer, who has tried to downplay expectations for the 21-year-old slugger, noted Wednesday that Rizzo's promotion has created a buzz in Padre-dom. "I like that buzz," Hoyer said.
So upon arrival, all Rizzo did in his major league debut Thursday at Petco Park was triple, score a run, walk twice and make several nifty plays around first base. The only blemish: a strikeout looking in his first at-bat against wily veteran Livan Hernandez.
His triple to deep left-center came within a few feet of leaving the park. It's hard not to make comparisons with Gonzalez. The Petco Park crowd was certainly gonzo as the Padres beat the Nationals, 7-3.
Rizzo even earned the de rigeur shaving cream pie-in-the-face as he did a postgame TV interview. Rizzo's reaction to his first game? "I'm ecstatic. It was an awesome dream come true," he said.
Rizzo was pummelling Pacific Coast League pitching to the tune of .365 with 16 homers and 63 RBI before he packed for San Diego.
As for his first at-bat, Rizzo admitted to reporters that he took a home run hack. "You only get one chance to hit a home run on your first pitch," he told reporters with a smile. "I went up there thinking home run."
Petco Park is a tough place to think home run, especially for left-handed hitters. Rizzo seems aware of that, saying he'll shoot the gaps at Petco: "I'll hit doubles and triples."
Rizzo's arrival sends Brad Hawpe back to the outfield, and might even push team RBI leader Ryan Ludwick to a new team (one rumor is Cincinnati).
This much is clear: one game into the Anthony Rizzo era, he's probably here to stay.