Thames returns to Rogers Centre

Thames returns to Rogers Centre

Thames returns to Rogers Centre
TORONTO -- Mariners right fielder Eric Thames said Tuesday he was enjoying his first trip back to Rogers Centre since being traded by the Blue Jays six weeks earlier, but wanted to make one thing clear.

"I remember my first at-bat here and the fans and team and stuff like that," said the 25-year-old Thames. "But I'm not getting caught up in that. That was fun, but now this is a new chapter in my career. Safeco is home for me now."

Thames was drafted by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Pepperdine and was checking in with old friends before Tuesday's opening game of the Mariners' three-game series.

"It was fun seeing people at the gate, and the doormen and ushers I knew," Thames said. "But I'd never been in this [visitors'] clubhouse before, and I had no idea how the setup was on this side. It's weird, but it's cool at the same time."

Thames, who started in right field on Tuesday, hit .274 with 11 home runs in 77 games at Rogers Centre while with the Blue Jays. One of those homers came earlier this season off Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen.

"You can see the ball pretty well here, and it flies most of the time," he said. "It's a good hitting park."

But 33 games into his Mariners career, Thames isn't looking back. He said the past six weeks seem far longer in retrospect.

"Just looking at the whole year, the season seems really long, emotionally, and with all the training and stuff," he said. "But I feel like I know these guys pretty well here. It's almost like I came up with these guys. That just shows how much they've welcomed me in. It's been good."