CHICAGO -- The Cubs have done some redecorating around Wrigley Field since Starlin Castro wore their uniform, and nowhere more than in center field, where a flag celebrating the 2016 World Series championship now proudly whips in the breeze.
With the Yankees in town for a rare Interleague series, Castro was eager to take a good look around the old building on Friday, and the infielder said that there were deep waves of nostalgia while exploring before the Yankees stunned his former club with a 3-2 victory.
"I think it's a really emotional day for me to come back here, to play against the team that gave me my first opportunity to be a baseball player," Castro said. "I feel happy to get here and compete against them."
The Cubs were pleased to welcome back Castro, who was a three-time All-Star during his time in Chicago. He received a standing ovation prior to his first at-bat, which was accompanied by his old walk-up music -- Omega's catchy "Ando En La Versace," which used to get the faithful clapping in the aisles.
"I think it's pretty awesome. I appreciate that," Castro said. "It's pretty good to see those guys again."
This weekend marks the Wrigley returns for Castro, Aroldis Chapman and Adam Warren, all of whom played for the Cubs in either 2015 or '16. Castro played for the franchise from 2010-15, and he said that he was proud to have been part of the turnaround by helping Chicago to the playoffs in '15.
"I'm a big Starlin fan and really enjoyed our time together," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I was really impressed with him based on how he was so accountable. I love that in any player, any human being. When we took him out of the shortstop role without any specifics, he didn't cry, didn't blame anybody."
"I just tried to go against him and go the opposite direction," Castro said. "I think if I go the other way, I might be safe."
In 891 games with the Cubs, Castro batted .281 with 391 runs, 186 doubles, 31 triples, 62 homers and 363 RBIs. He became the first American League player to reach 40 hits (40-for-109, .367) on Friday.
"He's been great. He's had a lot of big hits for us, he's played very well for us, he loves to play the game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Those kinds of things you can see from afar, but there's a toughness there within Starlin that I've seen that really impresses me."
After Chapman and Warren were presented with their World Series rings prior to Friday's series opener, Castro said that he did not feel any disappointment that he had missed out on the fun.
"No, whatever happened happens," Castro said. "You feel happy for the team, my ex-teammates and the city of Chicago."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.