Former Padres outfielder reunites with players, coaches
By Beth Maiman
SAN DIEGO -- Will Venable said it was not as weird as he thought it would be to stand on the field at Petco Park before his new club, the Rangers, opened a three-game series with the Padres on Monday night.
"I think I have gotten comfortable with the fact that I am no longer a Padre," said Venable, who received a warm ovation before his first at-bat Monday in the Rangers' 7-0 loss. "It was probably two days where it hadn't set in really. ... But now being around all these guys, the coaching staff, the training staff, the city of Arlington, I am comfortable over here now -- and I'm a Ranger."
Venable was traded to Texas on Aug. 18 for Minor League catcher Marcus Greene Jr. and right-hander Jon Edwards.
Since joining the Rangers, the left-handed-hitting outfielder is batting .273 (6-for-22) with two RBIs.
Venable joked that he didn't have the Rangers' schedule memorized when he found out he was traded, but was looking forward to coming back, as he proclaimed that San Diego's weather is the best.
"[The Rangers playing in San Diego] made saying goodbye easier," Venable said. "Right when I got traded one of the first comments made in the office was, 'We will see you in 10 days.' Five minutes after they told me I got traded, they said I was coming back to town, which was great because I didn't have to say goodbye all in one scoop."
Venable took the field early Monday, chatting up with San Diego closer Craig Kimbrel and other players and coaches and players before heading back into the clubhouse.
"It's great coming back here, you get to touch base with everybody and say hello," Venable said. "These are people that are your friends and people you could really call family, some of them you spend more time with than you do your own family. Over years and years, you really cultivate meaningful relationships, so I will definitely be in touch with a lot of people.
"All within the framework of being professional and knowing that we are here to beat up on the Padres," he added with a smile.
A strong series in San Diego and going forward is important for the Rangers, who entered the series three games behind the Astros in the American League West.
However, as Venable pointed out, playing important games late in the season is not something he often experienced in San Diego.
"You say in Spring Training, obviously you talk about playoffs, but it's more about playing meaningful games down the stretch," he said. "In San Diego, it's been five years since we played meaningful games in September, but for somebody who hasn't played in playoffs and only played in those [September] games and I know how important those are -- it intensifies."
Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.