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04/05/10 1:47 PM ET

McGwire enjoys Opening Day feel

Opener is first for Cards' hitting coach in nine years

CINCINNATI -- Mark McGwire's last Opening Day in uniform was nine years ago. So it's safe to say the Cardinals' hitting coach has been looking forward to Monday's season opener at Great American Ball Park for quite a while.

"It's awesome," McGwire said, "but it's in a different form. I get to watch [13] of my hitters perform. It's a little bit different. Well, eight of them plus the guys who pinch-hit. It's a different feeling, because I know I'm not playing. I've got butterflies, but it's a different kind of butterflies."

McGwire's job, perhaps more than any other coach, changes when the games begin to count. He's been working with hitters' swings throughout the spring, but now it becomes much more about game planning and scouting reports. He's looking forward to the regular-season grind.

"It's just going to be nice to get on some kind of a set schedule," McGwire said. "We have the [13] guys, it's nice to know how they're going to work. Spring Training, it's all different times."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.