NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Ford has learned to travel light — and quickly.
Since the start of the season, the 29-year-old first baseman has played for Tacoma, San Francisco and Sacramento. Traded from Seattle to the Giants on April 30, he was dealt back to the Mariners on Thursday.
On Friday night, he found his way to Citi Field, batting seventh for the Mariners as the designated hitter in a series opener at the New York Mets.
"Down to one bag I'm traveling with, and that's just about it," the 29-year-old first baseman said. "Five dress shirts, two pairs of pants and some shorts and T-shirts. So very simple packing at this point. Makes it a little easier. Plus, you don't have to pay $150 for the third bag every time."
Ford was a rare left-handed bat on the New York Yankees from 2019-21, hitting 17 homers with 41 RBIs in 101 games.
His travels began last June 17, when he was traded to Tampa Bay and optioned to Triple-A Durham. Washington claimed him off waivers on Aug. 23 and assigned him to Triple-A Rochester.
Ford elected free agency in November and signed six days after the lockout with the Mariners, a team he spent spring training with in 2018 after he was taken in the winter meeting draft of unprotected players — only to be returned to the Yankees.
He hit .317 in 10 games at Tacoma, then was dealt to the Giants and had a two-run single off Washington's Steve Cishek in his lone big league game, going 1 for 4 on May 1. Assigned to Sacramento, he was 0 for 7 when he was dealt back to Seattle.
Ford was with the River Cats in El Paso when he learned of the trade. He flew Wednesday to his home in Tampa, Florida, then on to New York a day later.
"I was pretty shocked when it happened," he said. "I think it's a good fit. That's why I'm here."
By Friday, he had a locker just inside the entrance to the visitors' clubhouse and was assigned No. 70.
"I've known Mike since he was in college," said Seattle manager Scott Servais, whose son Tyler was a catcher/first baseman at Princeton alongside Ford. "If anybody can handle it, it's Mike Ford, for sure. So he'll give good at-bats. He's not afraid. He just has to get hot at the right time, and hopefully he can stick."
Ford said some of his belongings remain in transit from Sacramento. On the plus side, he's accumulating frequent flier miles.
"I'm going to have a few free vacations, I think, at the end of the year," he said.