Playing for the Tucson Padres is new to Brandon Allen, but the setting itself is very familiar.
Allen, a free agent who was assigned to Triple-A Tucson on Friday, became very accustomed to Kino Sports Complex during his spring training days over several years with the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks.
He's glad to be back. Furthermore, he's glad to be playing.
"I'm excited about just getting to play," Allen said before the Padres beat the Fresno Grizzlies 5-3 on Saturday night.
"I love the game of baseball so I'm happy to play and hopefully keep it going.
"I could have been at home, but I'm here."
The 27-year-old Montgomery, Texas, product has been on all over the country since his first visit to Tucson.
So far, his return to is off to a good start.
Allen debuted with a pinch-hit single in the bottom of the ninth inning of Tucson's home opener on Friday night.
One night later, he started at first base and went 0 for 2 with two walks as the cleanup hitter.
Allen was drafted by the White Sox in 2004. He was traded to the Diamondbacks in 2009 and made his major-league debut that August against the Houston Astros.
"I'm from the Houston area and most of my family was there so it was the thrill of a lifetime," Allen said
After playing 65 games over nearly three seasons with Arizona, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics on July 31, 2011.
While there, he became the second player to hit a home run into the upper deck at the new Yankee Stadium. It was a two-out solo shot in the eighth inning.
"It was a great moment in my life and in my career," Allen said. "You can't beat that feeling."
Allen was picked up by the Tampa Bay Rays in April of last season but was released three months later.
He spent this spring playing for the Texas Rangers but was released at the end of last month.
Padres manager Pat Murphy said he was excited when the organization signed Allen, and is glad to have his power in Tucson. Through 116 major-league games Allen has 41 RBIs and 33 extra-base hits.
"He's been up in the big leagues, he's been down and he stays after it," Murphy said. "Based on his numbers, it's obvious he can produce runs. I think anybody is impressed by that, and the consistency will be the keeper."
Additionally, Murphy is hoping he can be a leader with his veteran background.
Allen said he wants to make sure the clubhouse stays happy and he is willing to answer any questions his younger teammates may have.
"I want to make sure this clubhouse stays happy and keep us all united as one," Allen said. "My goal is to still get to the big leagues and help myself too, but I'll be a mentor when I can and try to win also."
• What: Fresno at Padres
• When: 1:05 p.m.
• Radio: Tape delayed on 1290-AM after UA baseball (noon start)
• Highlight: The Padres never trailed Saturday night, on their way to their first home win of the season. Tucson (3-6) jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a two-run double by Travis Buck with no outs in the first inning.
• Big number: 5 for 13. Tucson went 5 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
• Today's starters: RHP Yusmeiro Petit, Fresno (1-1, 5.06 ERA); RHP Keyvius Sampson (0-0, 7.71 ERA)