Local product Loney cherishes return trips to Houston

Local product Loney cherishes return trips to Houston

HOUSTON -- James Loney is no stranger to coming back home.

Including Friday, Loney has played 25 games at Minute Maid Park as a Major Leaguer -- and one time as a high schooler. But even though he's played in Houston before, the games here still have some added meaning to them.

"It's still special to me," Loney said. "It's the team you watch growing up."

Loney went to Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas, which is about 30 minutes away from the Astros' home. His school was a power when Loney played there.

And when Loney had the opportunity to take the field at Minute Maid Park as a teenager, he played as a pitcher. That's what the Rays' first basemen was known for at the time. Loney said he also played a few games at the Astrodome in high school.

Loney will go home to Missouri City -- a place he makes sure to spend time at during the offseason -- on Saturday. He'll have around 12 family members at the game for him Friday night.

When playing in Houston, Loney has torn up the Astros, batting .342 with a .620 slugging percentage.

"It's always fun coming back," Loney said.

Mike Vernon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.