Colorado Rockies prospect Kyle Freeland received the joyful news that he would be starting the club’s home opener in his home state, making for a dream come true for the 23-year-old Thomas Jefferson High school alumnus.

Freeland will start the Rockies’ first home game of the season Friday afternoon against the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

“It’s an honor to be able to be called upon to play for your hometown team,” Freeland said via conference call. “It’s been [a] really exciting few days.”

Freeland bounced around between the Rockies minor league affiliates last season; however, a strong spring was enough to give Rockies manager Bud Black the confidence to make the decision to roll the Denver native out for the first appearance at Coors Field of the young campaign. Emotions will surely be boiling as Freeland takes the mound for the first time in his professional career.

“It’s going to be really exciting,” Freeland said. “Emotions are definitely going to be running high, but for me it’s just going to be [about] staying focused on my task at hand, not letting any outside factors affect me, control my breathing and take my breaths when I need them…It’s going to be very exciting and a lot of fun.”

Like every pitcher, there is a natural jitter before throwing in a game at elevation. That said, regardless of where he’s pitching, Freeland understands that in order to be successful at the Major League level he will need to execute his pitched accordingly.

“I’ve actually had the same thought with it [altitude] growing up in Colorado,” Freeland said. “You still have to execute pitches. You still have to get the ball on the ground and get outs. I think if you have that mentality [while] pitching at Coors Field, you’re going to have success, but I think people get away from it where sometimes they get a little scared or timid in the fact that the ball flies a little bit there. You still have to go out there every day and execute pitches down in the zone.”

Pitching in the big leagues takes both mental and physical toughness. A pitcher’s best friend is the ability to have a clear mind, something that will be essential for Freeland if he wants to continuously have success at the Major League level.

“Doesn’t matter if it’s Double-A, rookie ball, Single-A, or your debut,” Freeland said. “You got to go out there and think it’s just another game and execute your pitches.”

Freeland will join fellow rookie Antonio Senzatela in the backend of the Rockies’ rotation. With the addition of Freeland and Senzatela, the rotation has morphed from old and sputtering too young and promising. With an average age of 24.8, the Rockies have one of the youngest starting rotation in baseball.

The wait for Freeland is over, as his debut marks the beginning of what the Rockies are hopeful will be a long and illustrious career.