PHOENIX (AP) — For each of his first five major league seasons, Luke Gregerson came to spring training smack dab in the middle of suburbia, surrounded by shopping malls and restaurants.
With the exception of one season (2010), the results during the regular season were the same every year for the right-handed reliever and the San Diego Padres — well below .500.
Then, on Dec. 5, Gregerson faced a significant change. He was traded from the Padres to the Oakland Athletics for infielder-outfielder Seth Smith.
Now Gregerson reports to a ballpark that is the oldest in the Cactus League, overlooked by red-rock buttes and across the street from the Phoenix Zoo, full of exotic animals and birds that sound off every morning.