The Mariners' two-game series with the Pirates is meaningful for outfielder Jason Bay, whose career blossomed in Pittsburgh after he was...

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PITTSBURGH — The Mariners’ two-game series with the Pirates is meaningful for outfielder Jason Bay, whose career blossomed in Pittsburgh after he was traded (with current teammate Oliver Perez) from the Padres to the Pirates for outfielder Brian Giles in 2003. Though he returned many times with the Mets, Bay said he still enjoys coming back to Pittsburgh.

“I think anyone who plays in a place six years, gets a chance to play in the big leagues, has some success — obviously, we didn’t have the huge success we’d like — but I have a lot of respect and thanks for this organization for giving me a chance,” Bay said.

Bay still ranks first in home runs (61) and runs batted in (241) in PNC Park history, and second all-time in games played (368) behind former Mariner Jack Wilson (583). Bay was a two-time All-Star with the Pirates.

“I feel like I could walk down the hallway to the home clubhouse, I’ve done it so many times,” Bay said. “But it’s been five years removed, and I’m in a different progression of a career at this point. … When I’m done playing, it will be a better time to reflect. When you’re still playing, it’s hard to put it in perspective.”

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It’s interesting how the careers of Bay and Perez (the losing pitcher the last time the Mariners played at PNC, back in 2004) have gone down parallel paths. Both were developed in San Diego, traded to Pittsburgh, then landed with the Mets and signed big contracts, only to struggle. And now both have landed with the Mariners to resurrect their careers.

“I’m just following him,” joked Bay.

Bay said that PNC Park, with its picturesque view of downtown Pittsburgh, remains his favorite ballpark. “I said it when I played here, and still maintain it, it’s my favorite, as far as the design, the skyline,” he said. “There’s not many other ballparks that offer that kind of character. When you play here, it sounds biased, but when you leave here and still say it, it carries more weight.”


• Mariners manager Eric Wedge has set his rotation for the upcoming series against the A’s in Seattle: Hisashi Iwakuma will pitch Friday, Brandon Maurer on Saturday and Joe Saunders on Sunday. Maurer will be working on 10 days’ rest, having been skipped on his last turn, partially to keep Felix Hernandez on his regular rest, and partly to help the Mariners manage the workload of a young pitcher.

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