'Great memories' for Garko in Cleveland

'Great memories' for Garko in Cleveland

CLEVELAND -- Ryan Garko returned home on Monday. He was just in a different clubhouse. The Rangers backup first baseman began his career with the Indians as their third-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft out of Stanford University.

He made his Major League debut with the Indians in 2005 and was their starting first baseman in 2007-08. But the Indians traded him to the Giants on July 27, 2009, for Minor League pitcher Scott Barnes.

"It's great to be back," Garko said. "I have a lot of great memories and it's great to see the guys. I loved it here. We won a lot of games. I played hard, but it will be weird coming out of the other dugout."

Garko's first full season was 2007 when he hit .261 with 20 home runs and 61 RBIs. He also hit .314 in the postseason when the Indians won the American League Central and took the Red Sox to seven games. But the Indians fell out of contention the next season, pitcher CC Sabathia was traded and the club has been in a rebuilding mode since then.

"It just didn't click after '07," Garko said. "In '07 a lot of things went our way. CC was the first domino to fall and the team started breaking up after that. You just can't replace a guy like that."

Washington said Garko will likely start on Thursday against Indians left-hander David Huff.