Mike Devereaux could have been bitter and upset upon his return to Baltimore last night.
The Chicago White Sox, the team he joined after Baltimore decided not to re-sign him after five years, have not lived up to their preseason billing at 35-46.
But all is well for the man affectionately known as "Devo."
"There will always be a place in my heart for the Orioles," Devereaux said. "I don't look at [not being in Baltimore] as a disappointment at all. I love the guys on [the Orioles]. But I'm happy in Chicago.
"There are a great bunch of guys there. I like the organization and I'm having a good time except in the loss column.. . . . I miss Baltimore, but Chicago wanted me to play for them."
When spring training started, Devereaux was part of the free-agent camp in Homestead, Fla.
"There was no doubt [it was tough]," said Devereaux. "There was a freeze on signing and the free agents had nowhere to go. I wasn't the only one in that boat. When the freeze was lifted, spring training started that day. It's a quick turnaround. Next thing you know, you have to find a ball club to play for."
Now the former Orioles center fielder is back in the Camden Yards outfield, this time in right field. But on the field, his former teammates are just another opponent.
"Whatever team you are on, you want to play to the best of your ability to help that team win," said Devereaux, who is batting 92 points higher than his 1994 mark at .295. "When it comes to playing a former team, of course they are friends of yours. But you still do the best you can do to help your team win no matter what it takes."
That meant Devereaux tutoring his teammates on the weaknesses of Mike Mussina, last night's starting pitcher.
"I've seen him pitch every year he has thrown in the big leagues from center field," Devereaux said.
Mussina got the best of his former teammate in three encounters. Devereaux, hitting sixth in the lineup, flied to center in the first, struck out looking in the fourth and grounded into a fielder's choice in the sixth. Devereaux flied out in the eighth against Terry Clark.
Devereaux, the first Oriole to hit a home run at Camden Yards in April of 1992, recalls seeing his former teammates in Chicago a couple of weeks ago.
"Before Baltimore came to Chicago, I was thinking, 'I miss Baltimore. I miss the guys and all but I think I'll be all right,' " said Devereaux, who robbed Rafael Palmeiro of extra bases with a running catch near the wall in the sixth inning. "Then I see Cal [Ripken] and Brady [Anderson] and Jeffrey [Hammonds] and wow, these are my boys. These are guys who I hung out with for years and years." "And then coming here back to Baltimore, I was trying to tell myself that it would be all right. You never know till it happens."