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07/18/08 9:49 PM ET
D-backs abuzz about Clark's return
Veteran has new locker but same leadership role for old team
By Mike Ritter / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks' clubhouse was abuzz before Friday night's game, and it wasn't just because the team was about to start the second half against the team trailing it by just one game in the standings. Tony Clark, who was with the D-backs from 2005-2007, was back in the home clubhouse for the first time since he was acquired Thursday from the Padres. Now wearing No. 13, he wasn't even in the same locker that he used to occupy, but he brought the same charisma he was known for in his previous tenure with the D-backs. Catcher Chris Snyder called him "Mufasa, the King Lion" on Thursday for the type of veteran leadership he brings. "I'm going to do what I've always done and pray that that's enough," Clark said. "I'm always looking to make a contribution whenever my name is called. I will continue to remain available for advice in this clubhouse, as they remain available to me in the times that I need something as well. I'm going to do what I do. These guys know me and I know them." Clark has 245 career homers and 800 RBIs. He will spell Chad Tracy at first base on occasion with right-handed pitchers and will fill the role of a late-inning pinch-hitter with some pop. Clark had just 88 at-bats with the Padres, hitting .238 with a homer and 11 RBIs. Clark waived a $500,000 assignment bonus from the Padres just to come back to his former team, and he makes the jump in the division from last place to first. "It wasn't an easy decision to make," Clark said. "But realizing that San Diego was making the opportunity for me to come back home for the team that I had played for in the past, a team that was in first place and the realization that both parties that were involved in this deal weren't going to pick up that assignment bonus, I had to make a decision as to whether I wanted another opportunity to come back and I decided that it was worth coming back."
Mike Ritter is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.