SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — After nine seasons in San Francisco and three World Series championships, former Giants pitcher and current Los Angeles Dodger Sergio Romo said he’s excited about what he calls a homecoming as the teams renew the storied rivalry.

Romo acknowledged that while coming back to AT&T Park as a member of the hated rivals is somewhat awkward, he anticipates the initial fan reaction will be positive. “But I wouldn’t be surprised either that I get a quick reminder that I’m wearing the other colors now.”

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When the Major League Baseball 2017 season schedule was released, Romo said he immediately marked his calendar for April 24th.

“It matters a lot to me to be here, and it doesn’t really matter that I’m wearing a different jersey,” said Romo. “It’s think just the excitement because of the history and how appreciative I am of having the opportunity to be able to have called this home at one point … For me, it’s a homecoming. It really, really is.”

A free agent after the 2016 season, Romo signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers after the Giants declined to offer him a contract. Romo rooted for the Dodgers as a child growing up in the Imperial County city of Brawley, near the Mexico border and often recounted how disappointed his grandfather was after he signed with the Giants.

Romo said walking into AT&T Monday park filled him with excitement for many reasons, beyond the fact that he is “playing in an awesome stadium.”

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“I get to see a lot of old friends … a lot of guys I went to battle with, so to speak,” he said. “I mean, this is the start of my career, where I made a name for myself. I mean, this is the beginning for me. So I was excited just to be in the atmosphere, just to be in the area, just to be in the city.”

Romo said he was even compelled to pass by his favorite restaurant in the city, La Taqueria in the Mission District, even though he knew it was closed Monday. He noted he would return again on Tuesday.

As a member of the so-called Core Four of the Giants pitching staff along with Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla and Javier Lopez, Romo won three World Series titles in 2010, 2012, and 2014, transitioning from a setup reliever to a closer. His strikeout of Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera to finish the sweep of the Tigers in the 2012 World Series is one of the franchise’s iconic moments.

Romo eventually ended up relinquishing his closer’s role to Casilla, but he remains fifth on the all-time list of Games pitched for the Giants.

 


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Carlos E. Castañeda is Senior Editor, News & Social Media for CBS San Francisco and a San Francisco native. You can follow him on Twitter or send him an email.