Former Mariner Beltre returns to new Safeco

Former Mariner Beltre returns to new Safeco

SEATTLE -- The Rangers played their first game at Safeco Field on Thursday night under the new dimensions. The Mariners moved their outfield fences in during the offseason, mostly from right-center all the way around to the left-field foul pole. The changes varied from four to 17 feet, but the most significant change was the left-center-field power alley that went from 390 to 376 feet.

The changes come at least four years too late for Adrian Beltre, a right-handed power hitter who played five seasons with the Mariners.

During those five years, Beltre averaged one home run every 28.48 at-bats during home games. That ranked 110th among Major League hitters during that time. Since then, Beltre has played his home games at Fenway Park in 2010 with the Red Sox and now the Ballpark in Arlington.

Over that time, Beltre is averaging a home run every 14.52 at-bats during home games. That ranks as the 10th best home run ratio for a player in his home park. Prior to signing a five-year, $64 million contract with the Mariners, Beltre had set a career high with 48 home runs with the Dodgers in 2004.

"I made it hard here," Beltre said. "I was too hard on myself. In the beginning I was trying to justify my contract. The team was losing and that wasn't fun either."

Beltre said he doesn't regret signing with the Mariners.

"It wasn't a mistake," Beltre said. "It was a choice I made. I don't regret it at all. I enjoyed my time here. I had good teammates."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.