ST. LOUIS (AP) Colby Rasmus was one of the last Houston Astros to leave the field after pre-game warmups, taking his time posing for pictures after batting practice. The player who came up with the Cardinals is savoring his first trip back to St. Louis, even if his time there featured some growing pains.
The 29-year-old Rasmus was traded to Toronto in July 2011 and said he bore no grudge for missing the Cardinals' World Series championship run that fall. The two-game interleague series that started Tuesday night was his first time facing St. Louis since the deal, and he was excited about being back in the ''big red house'' and for the fan reception.
''There's excitement in the air, I feel it, it feels good,'' Rasmus said. ''I think it'll be a good time, and I'm just going to try to have fun with it.''
Rasmus, a first-round pick out of high school in 2005, remembered feeling unwelcome in his first callup at age 22 in 2009. He ran afoul of manager Tony La Russa and star player Albert Pujols, partly due to perceived interference from his father.
''A lot of learning experiences, a lot of bumps on my head that I took,'' Rasmus said. ''A lot of things I had to learn to grow with.''
The Cardinals added pitchers Octavio Dotel, Edwin Jackson and Marc Rzepczynski in the seven-player trade with Toronto and freed up center field for Jon Jay.
Rasmus remembered a Cardinals roster ''full of pretty stout veteran players that really had their thing going.'' He said the experience inspired him to put extra energy into valuing his teammates.
''We are a young team, the Astros, and I just try to be good to people and make them feel like they're big leaguers,'' Rasmus said. ''That's kind of the feeling I wanted to have.''
He entered the interleague series batting .222 with eight homers and 35 RBIs, third on the team.