Barrett now a visitor at Friendly Confines

Barrett now a visitor at Wrigley

CHICAGO -- Michael Barrett returned to Wrigley Field for the first time since being dealt to San Diego last June. The injured catcher did some throwing work and played catch with his manager in the outfield. He visited old friends in the home clubhouse and even had a chat with Monday's starter, Carlos Zambrano, whom he famously tussled with last season.

"It's definitely a little different than I expected," Barrett said. "It's good to be back. It's great to see everybody. When you step on the field [at Wrigley], you realize that's the thing you miss the most, looking at the ivy and everything."

Shelved with a strained ligament in his right elbow since April 8 (retroactive to March 21), Barrett said the injury, and the ensuing pain, was a "low point" in his career. But Barrett said he felt great working out this weekend, and he could begin a rehab assignment as early as next week.

"He threw the ball well, picking up the intensity and the duration," manager Bud Black said of Barrett's Monday workout. "I wouldn't be surprised if Michael's on a rehab assignment in a week or less."

Barrett was shipped out of Chicago amid considerable scrutiny after spending 3 1/2 years on the North Side. His fight with Zambrano started in the dugout and continued in the clubhouse during a game on June 1. The two made up shortly thereafter, and Barrett said the whole situation is behind him.

"When you come back to a place like this, you want to remember the good things," he said. "That's what I love about baseball. You learn how to deal with failure, and you move forward."

Jon Greenberg is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.