Who says you can’t go home again?
Ken Griffey Jr. has returned to his major league roots as a member of the Seattle Mariners. The future Hall of Famer is now 40 with surgically-repaired knees. But he retains the same enthusiasm he displayed as a rookie phenom 21 seasons ago.
“You have to have fun while you play,” says Griffey. “I enjoy what I do. When I am not enjoying it, then I’ll leave. But I have fun coming to the ballpark. I enjoy the competition and I enjoy the friendships on and off the field that I have.”
Griffey was acquired by the Chicago White Sox last July in a trade for pitcher Nick Masset and outfielder Paul Orlando.
"Those were two of the best months of my career," Griffey told reporters before facing the White Sox this week at U.S. Cellular Field. "Everything about it was good.
"Going from not being in a pennant race to being in a pennant race should revitalize you. But the whole experience was good. The city was great, the fans were great and my teammates were great. It was a lot of fun."
Griffey played in 41 games for the White Sox, who won the American League Central Division championship. He hit .260 with three home runs and 18 RBIs, despite playing on an injured left knee.
Griffey entered this week’s series against the White Sox with just a .192 batting average, two home runs and three RBIs in 15 games and 52 at-bats.
"I ain't got no altitude," Griffey told the Mariners’ website. "It's all about E-squared -- elevation and extension. You've got to have them in hitting. But it's getting there."
Griffey leads the Mariners with 12 walks and his .344 on-base percentage is fifth on the team.
Griffey, who broke in with the Mariners in 1989, has 613 career homers.