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Ryan Theriot might have tweaked his former teammates and the fan base with his comments over the offseason, but the former Chicago Cub doesn't expect any retaliation when his St. Louis Cardinals open a three-game series at Wrigley Field on Tuesday.
Theriot, who spent six seasons primarily at shortstop for the Cubs before being dealt to the Dodgers at the trade deadline last year, was traded by Los Angeles to the Cardinals in November. Theriot said at the time he was happy he was "finally on the right side of the rivalry."
During the Cubs Convention in January, backup catcher Koyie Hill said Theriot could expect to be knocked down in the batter's box when the teams play this season. And Carlos Zambrano, Tuesday's starting pitcher, called Theriot the enemy.
Months later, Theriot doesn't expect the same kind of bluster from his former teammates, especially with the bats behind him in the St. Louis lineup.
"I wouldn't think that they would hit me for the simple fact that you've got Albert [Pujols] and Matt [Holliday] and Lance [Berkman] coming up right behind me," Theriot said Monday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "Even with that being said, no , I wouldn't think [getting hit by a pitch] would happen."
Theriot said Chicago is still a special place for him.
"Obviously the comments that I made were kind of taken out of context," Theriot said. "[People] know the way I feel about Chicago and the way that city has embraced me. What a wonderful time I had when I was there. I talked to Koyie afterwards, and it is what it is. Whatever. What are you going to do?"
Theriot is batting .287 for the Cardinals, who entered Monday's games in first place in the National League Central, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds with a 20-15 record. The Cubs, meanwhile, are 15-18 and in fourth place.
Theriot doesn't know what to expect in his return to Wrigley, but he is sure it won't be like any other road trip.
"It's definitely going to be different I would expect. I've never done this," Theriot said. "I went back to L.A., but I don't really count L.A. Going back to a city that I have been to and been a part of for so long it will definitely be emotional for me. I'm really looking forward to it. It's kind of one of those trips that ... a lot of road trips fall together, mesh together. This is one you look forward to.
"I can go to some of the restaurants I went to when I was in Chicago. It starts from the top from the front office guys to the people that do promotions at Wrigley, the ushers, everybody. You make friends with those people and you get to know them and they are part of your life for a long time so I am excited to see all those guys again."