08/25/2009 1:10 PM ET
Hawkins: Enjoying the experience
Right-hander liked moving around, enjoying time near home
This is my second year in Houston. I haven't played with a team for this long since I was with the Twins.
I love being an Astro and playing in Texas. Playing close to home is a big plus. To be fair, though, having a home with any one of the big league teams is nice. I really don't like to complain about that at all.
Moving around is part of being a Major Leaguer. The stability in Minnesota was nice, but you play the cards you're dealt. I loved playing in Minnesota, because it was the team that drafted me and the first team I played with. They gave me my shot in the Major Leagues.
But after I left the Twins, I really didn't mind going from team to team for a little while. It was nice to experience different cities and to meet new people. I spent my first 12 Spring Trainings in Fort Myers, Fla., where the Twins played. My last six Spring Trainings have been in Arizona and other towns in Florida. I've gotten to meet a lot of great people in each of those places.
All the moving around from team to team also brought new opportunities for me. It's hard to fully appreciate that aspect when you stay in one place for a long period.
When you join a new team, it's not that hard to find your place in a new clubhouse. No matter what the front of your jersey says, every team has the same goal for the end of the year -- everyone wants to win ballgames. It doesn't matter if you are in Minnesota or Houston or wherever. The goal is to win games and make it to the postseason. Everyone wants a World Series championship.
It's also kind of cool when you've been around and get to know a bunch of guys on different teams. When you travel or teams come to your stadium, you can wave to them and go and talk to them. It's very easy to make friends in baseball.
LaTroy Hawkins, now in his second season with the Astros, played for the Twins from 1995-2003. In between, he pitched for the Yankees, Cubs, Rockies, Giants and Orioles. If he can maintain his current 2009 ERA of 2.03, it will be his best ERA since his final season with the Twins. Hawkins' 11 saves is the most he's had since getting 25 for the Cubs in 2004.