I'm happy about getting traded from the Orioles to the Padres because I've gone from a team in fifth place to a team in first place.

Going from last place to first place, I think, is one of the best things that can happen to any player. I view it as a great honor that the Padres thought I was the type of player who could help them. I like to play hard, and I like to play for a winner.

I've never been traded in the middle of the season before. The only time I had been traded came in the winter. Still, over the years, I've seen and played with a lot of guys who have been in this situation.

Walking into my new clubhouse for the first time was great because I was walking into the clubhouse of a winner, of a team playing for a championship. I had heard a lot about this team. There has been a lot of talk about this team in the baseball world this season, and we played against them in July.

A lot of the players were happy to see me, happy for me to be here. I had played with Jerry Hairston before in Baltimore. He played second base there for a time. I have played against a lot of these guys for years, and we talk out there, so I'm already becoming comfortable here.

My second day, on the day of the trade deadline, we traded for Ryan Ludwick. I know him well from playing in the NL Central before with Houston. Everybody knows what he accomplished in St. Louis. He's another guy who plays hard. He will add a lot to this team.

I played shortstop and batted in the cleanup spot my first game here with San Diego. It was great to be playing shortstop again. It's my natural position, the one I've played most of my career. I take it as a great honor that they believe I can still be strong at shortstop.

I can still play shortstop because of the hard work I have put into my body during the season and in the offseason. I knew that I might get the opportunity to play short and third, so it was important to keep my body in great shape to do the job.

It would be great to get back into the playoffs. I feel rejuvenated knowing there's a possibility I will be playing baseball in October. I haven't been to the postseason since 2003 when I was with Oakland, so this is a good feeling to have.

This is an opportunity that everybody looks forward to, and seven years is a long time to go without it.

On July 30, the Padres acquired former AL MVP and six-time All-Star infielder Miguel Tejada from Baltimore. At the time of the trade, Tejada had appeared in 93 games in the field this season, all at third base, after having played shortstop in each of his previous 1,846 games. The Padres are trying to win their first division title since winning consecutive championships in 2005-06.