This week, we go to Houston for the first time this season. Obviously, for me, it is going to be pretty cool because I spent the first four years of my Major League career there. It will be a little different to sit in the visitors' bullpen, clubhouse and dugout, but I expect to enjoy my time there. I'm looking forward to it.
Prior to the offseason trade that sent me to Arizona from Houston, I had only played for the Astros. I pitched there from 2004 through 2007. We played the Astros at home earlier this season in Arizona, and I had a chance to catch up with some of my former teammates. Now I'll go back to the city for the first time.
It hasn't taken very long to see that the Diamondbacks have a first-class operation, and the environment is great. It's fun to be on a winning ball club.
Changing teams is pretty much what I thought it would be. Actually, it's probably been a little easier than I thought it would be. I imagined it would be difficult because I was the "new guy," but guys here had open arms, and the transition has been easy.
From a geographic standpoint, I liked Houston because my wife is from Houston, and we live there but, overall it's been a good change for me. It's good to be in the NL West now because I'm from Southern California, so I've welcomed the opportunity to play closer to my home.
The hardest part about the transition has been off the field. My wife doesn't get to see her family as often during the season, so it's tough on her. But she's making the best of it. She understands that a baseball life can take you anywhere.
The season has gone pretty well for me. My role now is pretty much the same as during my time with the Astros. Any time I get to go out there with the game on the line and have the chance to preserve a lead for my team, that's fine with me.
It's also great to pitch alongside these guys. From our starting rotation down through the last guy in our pen, the pitching staff here is deep and solid.
Chad Qualls, who relies on a heavy two-seamer and a deceptive delivery, joined the D-backs in the offseason deal that sent closer Jose Valverde to Houston. He's posted a 3.57 ERA with a 2-7 record and two saves through his first 54 games with Arizona. He has posted a sub-four ERA in all five of his big leagues seasons, including a career-best 3.05 mark in 2007.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.