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Joe Thatcher excited to be a member of Arizona Diamondbacks

The San Diego Padres are the only Major League franchise Joe Thatcher had ever known — at least until Wednesday when the club traded the veteran left-handed reliever to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with prospect Matt Stites and a draft pick for starter Ian Kennedy.

Thatcher was one of the longest-tenured Padres, having made his big league debut all the way back in July of 2007.

But despite his familiarity with the Padres organization, Thatcher told the San Diego media that he’s looking forward to something new.

“Things happen and now I get to get back with Kevin Towers again and playing for him — he’s a great GM, and Heath Bell and guys like that,” Thatcher said. “It’s exciting to get traded, it’s a big deal. But it brings excitement, being in a pennant race is exciting, and that’s all you can ask for — that’s why you play baseball is a chance to win.

“I’m just looking forward to getting over there and helping out, you know, whatever they need from me.”

Playing for a team involved in a pennant race will be a new experience for Thatcher, who saw his Padres team finish with a record above .500 only twice in his seven seasons there.

The fact that Thatcher was traded within the division was also a little surprising — it was only the fourth deal between the two teams ever. But it’s OK with Thatcher.

“You don’t see that much, but it’s a need that they had and I feel comfortable in this division, obviously,” Thatcher said. “I’ll be facing a lot of the same guys, which could be a good thing or it could be a bad thing, but I have all the confidence in the world in myself when I get out there so it doesn’t really matter who we’re facing.”

Thatcher, who was 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA in 50 relief appearances with the Padres this season, met up with his new teammates in Texas and could see his first action in a three-game weekend series against the Red Sox which begins Friday night at Fenway Park.

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