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Throng up the middle: 5 White Sox making first Opening Day start

Guaranteed Rate Field looks ready for Opening Day.

Five White Sox will experience the baseball high of making that first Opening Day start Monday.

One of them, center fielder Jacob May, will be making his major-league debut.

“It’s a dream come true,’’ said May, who will be penciled in ninth on Rick Renteria’s first lineup card as Sox manager.

It will also mark the first Opening Day start for second baseman Tyler Saladino, shortstop Tim Anderson, catcher Omar Narvaez and left-hander Jose Quintana. That encompasses all five positions up the middle of the diamond.

Anderson, who opened last season at Class AAA Charlotte, fully expects a case of nerves.

“I feel like if I’m not nervous, I’m not ready,’’ said Anderson, who signed a $25 million contract extension during spring training. “I’m going to be nervous definitely, but I’m definitely ready.’’

Todd Frazier will be playing in his sixth opener.

“There’s nothing better, to be honest with you,’’ he said. “It’s a great feeling when they announce your name. You don’t feel the cold weather or the rain. I remember my first at-bat. I thought I was walking on the moon.’’

As counsel for rookies such as May, Renteria referenced Gene Hackman in “Hoosiers” measuring the basketball court in a big stadium.

“It’s 90 feet [on the baselines], 60 feet, 6 inches [from the pitcher’s mound to home plate] and the fences are all the same,’’ Renteria said.

A door opened for May when Charlie Tilson was injured this spring. May responded by batting .319 with two walks, four stolen bases in five attempts and 11 runs.

“I’m going to go out there and use my legs,’’ May said. “Anything I can do to help this team win, and I want to impact the game with my speed.’’

As for nerves, that’s all part of being a big-leaguer.

“Everybody always has butterflies their first time in the big leagues,’’ Renteria said. “That’s actually a good thing. But managing emotions is something that he’s going to have to do.’’

Transactions

Left-hander Carlos Rodon, right-hander Juan Minaya and Tilson were put on the 10-day disabled list, all retroactive to March 30. The Sox purchased the contracts of outfielder Cody Asche, right-hander Anthony Swarzak and catcher Geovany Soto, who were non-roster invitees to spring training.

This and that

Monday’s lineup leaves corner infielder and designated hitter Matt Davidson, infielder-outfielder Leury Garcia, infielder Yolmer Sanchez and Soto on the bench.

• Renteria said right-hander Dylan Covey, whose status as a Rule 5 draft selection helped his chances of making the team, is likely to start in Rodon’s absence. Rodon will be re-evaluated April 10, and he likely will miss most of the month before he gets back up to speed.

• A strong chance of rain is forecast for the opener. Tickets would be honored Tuesday, an open day, if the game is rained out.

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

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