Return to Arizona a homecoming for Joseph

Return to Arizona a homecoming for Joseph

PHOENIX -- Tommy Joseph was 10 years old when his favorite team, the D-backs, won the World Series.

He grew up rooting for the team that joined the Major Leagues as an expansion club when he was 6. He even played in a game at Chase Field during his standout career at Horizon High School in nearby Scottsdale.

On Monday, Joseph returned to the desert for the first time as a Major Leaguer when his Phillies opened a three-game set against the D-backs.

"Growing up, huge D-backs fan, I came to as many games as I could get to as a kid," said Joseph, a first baseman. "Obviously they had a big impact on my childhood."

Joseph struck out in his first four at-bats Monday before flying out to center field in a 8-0 victory over the D-backs.

Joseph was drafted by the Giants after high school. He was traded to Philadelphia in a package for Hunter Pence in 2012. Four years later, he made it to the Majors.

When Joseph debuted for the Phillies on May 13 at Citizens Bank Park, he had several family members make the trip. His contingent will be larger at Chase Field on Monday night, as more family members and friends will have their first chance to see him play in the big leagues.

"It'll mean a lot to have them here for that," Joseph said. "To look up and check out the ballpark from a different side is cool, it's very special and I'm very excited to get this opportunity."

Joseph unseated veteran Ryan Howard as the starting first baseman earlier this month. He is batting .244/.256/.487 in 35 games since his callup, but has shown his power potential with eight home runs.

Joseph isn't the only Phillies player making a return to Arizona. Reliever David Hernandez played for the D-backs from 2011-15 and starter Jeremy Hellickson pitched for them in 2015.

Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.