Cory Aldridge has been around the game for a long time, but even for a journeyman like him, a three homer game is still something to smile about.
The Triple-A Salt Lake outfielder went yard three times Sunday night, driving in seven runs to lead the Bees in a 13-6 rout of the Las Vegas 51s.
The 33-year-old brought his home run count to 11 in the 47 games he's played with Salt Lake since being brought over from Diablos Rojos del Mexico in the Mexican League in late May.
He said it was the third or fourth time in his career he'd managed to park three longballs in one game, adding that it hasn't gotten old.
"Any time you hit three home runs, it's definitely a positive, it's definitely exciting," he said. "It's kind of coincidental that I got some personalized bats I'd ordered, and 12 hours later, I finally do some damage. It's always fun to do."
The 1997 fourth-round Draft pick by the Braves is hitting .210 with a .449 slugging percentage this season. He hit .363 with six home runs in 22 games in the Mexican League at the beginning of the season before rejoining the Angels, where he played in 2010.
He'd spent Spring Training with the Orioles, but didn't immediately catch on with a Major League organization as he recovered from shoulder surgery he'd had in October, so he moved on to Mexico.
It wasn't his first international stop, after he played with Nexen Heroes in Korea last year. He said he was hoping his stint south of the border could lead to a return to Asian baseball, where he'd enjoyed his experience in 2011.
"I went to Korea [last year], hit a few home runs and then had to have shoulder surgery, so it was difficult to sign in Japan or anything like that," he said. "I thought I was going back there, but the surgery hindered my chances. It didn't work out in spring, so I went to Mexico to try to get back with a Korean or Japanese team."
Aldridge spent 14 years in organized systems before moving to Korea last year. This year is his 16th in professional baseball. He's had two cups of coffee in the big leagues, first in 2001 with the Braves, where he pinch-ran and scored in the first game after 9/11 as part of an eight-game stint. His second stint was in 2010 with the Angels, where he got 13 plate appearances in five games.
"My goal like anybody else's is obviously the big leagues," he said. "I run, hit, throw, catch, do what you want me to do. I want to keep playing. You play until you can't."
He said Sunday his teammates, many of whom he knew from his time in the organization in 2010, weren't surprised by his outburst.
"They looked at me more or less like, 'About time,'" he said. "My history is pretty good, and it's always good to be somewhere where you know somebody and can have fun. Great teammates here, great manager, the organization is great."
The Bees also received help from No. 10 Angels prospect Kole Calhoun, who went 3-for-5 with a home run, a double and two RBIs. Luis Jimenez and Matt Long added homers as well.