After four seasons playing for the Baltimore Orioles, Luke Scott returns tonight to play against the Orioles at Camden Yards. He will bat fourth as the Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter.
He was a fan favorite when he played here and often heard the "Luke" chant when he came to bat. Maybe he will hear some of that here tonight.
"I have just tremendous memories from here that I cherish. I am very thankful for them. Just appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity to play here.
"I had a real good relationship with the fans here. I hope the feeling is mutual. I have a respect and appreciation for them and hopefully they do for me," he said this afternoon in the visiting clubhouse.
Scott is batting .247 in 27 games with Tampa with seven homers, 22 RBIs and an OPS of .852. He ranks fifth in the AL, averaging a homer every 13.3 at-bats.
"This is a great group, a great clubhouse. A loose group and we enjoy having fun. This is a blue-collar team that is passionate about playing the game the right way. That goes from management down to the players. I walked into a really nice situation here."
Scott is able to play for Tampa right now, but is also still recovering from labrum surgery last July 26 that ended his 2011 season after just 64 games for the Orioles.
"It's coming along. It's (the shoulder is) getting better. I am not making huge jumps forward, just gradual playing on it every day. It is something I have to manage and deal with, and that is how it will be the whole year. I have to get treatment every day and make sure it is stretched out."
After making $6.4 million with the Orioles in 2011, Scott was poised to make possibly more than that this year through arbitration. However, the Orioles non-tendered him, making him a free agent, and he signed with Tampa in January.
At the time, the Orioles said they had interest in potentially re-signing him, but Scott said that talks never got serious at all with the Orioles after they non-tendered him.
"No, I never got a formal offer and there wasn't really much communication. We reached out to them, but there wasn't much interest. I had some options to choose from and I prayed about it. I'm happy where I landed. I landed where I was supposed to be."
Over 471 games with the Orioles, Scott batted .260 with 84 homers and 236 RBIs. Does he have any extra motivation in playing against the Orioles this weekend?
"There is motivation enough every game. For me, it is more personal for getting where I need to be (health-wise). I play this game to have success. As for the other stuff, I want to win. I'm with the Rays, and I want to get to the postseason and go as far as we can go.
"I have a lot of respect for the guys in the other clubhouse. It is a great group of individuals and a great staff. I do wish them all the best and appreciate the time I had with them.
"This is my second time in the big leagues facing my former team. It's a little different. But there is mutual respect hopefully and I desire for them to do well over there," he said.