Rockie Road: Arenado returns to Coors in Cardinals uniform

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DENVER (AP) — Nolan Arenado spent eight seasons at Coors Field. Never spent this much time in the visiting clubhouse, though.

Upon his highly anticipated return to Denver, the eight-time Gold Glove winner said he hopes his acrimonious split with the Rockies doesn’t cloud what he accomplished in Colorado.

“I really feel like I could look at my past and have really no regrets when it comes to what I did here,” he said. “I feel like I did some great things.”

Arenado was set to play his first game at Colorado on Thursday night since an offseason trade to the St. Louis Cardinals. The deal followed years of off-field drama between Arenado and former general manager Jeff Bridich, a rift that ended up costing the Rockies the face of their franchise.

It looked like Arenado was going spend his career with Colorado when he signed a $260 million, eight-year contract before the 2019 season, but his relationship with Bridich soured soon after. The two didn’t speak after the 2019 season and Arenado was dealt to St. Louis before spring training this year.

Bridich resigned as the general manager in April and was replaced on an interim basis by Bill Schmidt, the organization’s director of scouting. Arenado said he doesn’t know if things would have turned out differently if Bridich left before him.

“I don’t know what the plan would have been regardless,” Arenado said. “They could easily want to trade me still or I would have stayed. I don’t know how it would it really turned out.”

Arenado broke in with Colorado in 2013 and made an immediate impact. His first season was the last one for Rockies great Todd Helton, and Arenado became the club's most recognizable star after Troy Tulowitzki was traded to Toronto in 2015.

He won the Gold Glove in each of his eight seasons with Colorado and emerged as an offensive force by his third season. From 2015-19 he hit 199 home runs and averaged 124 RBIs a season and helped lead the Rockies to the postseason in 2017 and 2018.

Arenado said it was a little strange arriving in town and going to the team hotel instead of his downtown Denver home, and entering the visiting clubhouse as well. He said he had dinner with Rockies shortstop Trevor Story on Wednesday night.

“Just talking and reminiscing about things and how the season’s going on,” he said. “It was just great to see him and the family. There won’t be a whole lot of hugging. I’m trying to win a ballgame.”

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Michael Kelly, The Associated Press

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