"I have a lot of friends over here and had a great time here last year," Branyan said. "Playing in Cleveland was a good time. We had a lot of young players over there who really embraced the situation. ... If you're going to get traded mid-season, you'd like to go somewhere where you know some of the people and know some familiar faces, so it's good to come back."
When Branyan missed the final month of the 2009 season with a back ailment and Seattle elected not to re-sign him, he returned to Cleveland -- where he spent parts of five seasons beginning in 1998. The Brewers had Branyan from 2004-05, then again during their '08 playoff run.
In fact, Branyan owns three of the five longest home runs in Miller Park history, including a 480-foot blast that ranks as the longest. Surely, that was on Milwaukee closer John Axford's mind when he struck out the last batter of Sunday's game with Branyan -- representing a potential tying run -- standing on deck.
"Just like any at-bat, you get a chance to go up there in a situation like that, you want to come through," Branyan said. "It's a tough loss today. We didn't really get anything going."
Branyan, who became just the second player in franchise history to top 30 home runs in his first year with the Mariners, has always been prone to injury, but his raw power is unquestioned.
"There's always a risk when you acquire players, especially those who have had injuries," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "Our trainers have talked. I talked to [Indians GM] Mark Shapiro about this issue. Russell's done a great job maintaining his program, and he feels he's in good shape right now.
"I know it's going to be popular with the players because I know they liked him, and he's fond of Seattle as well as the players. I think it gives us a legitimate threat in our lineup, and it was important for us to do this at this time. ... It's looked at like a little bit of a homecoming for him."