PITTSBURGH -- Zach Duke joked on Tuesday that his first task was to familiarize himself with the one part of PNC Park that he had never previously gotten to know. That would be the visitors' clubhouse, of course.
Duke returned to Pittsburgh for the first time as a member of another organization. Now a part of Arizona's rotation, he's not going to miss out on a chance to pitch here, either, as Duke is scheduled to oppose longtime friend and former teammate Paul Maholm in Wednesday's game.
"We'll have fun with it," Maholm said. "There's no trash talk. We're both going to expect to win, and go out there and compete -- and at the end of the day, one of us will be happier."
The start will be just the third of the season for Duke, who missed two months after breaking his hand during a Spring Training game. Before his two starts with the D-backs, Duke made the first 158 appearances of his career with Pittsburgh. Ironically enough, he and Maholm will be battling on Wednesday to become the all-time leader in wins at PNC Park. Both currently have 31.
Duke's time in Pittsburgh ended this past offseason, when the Pirates opted not to go as far as an arbitration hearing with the left-hander. The team instead traded Duke to Arizona for pitcher Cesar Valdez. Duke finished his career with the Pirates with a 46-71 record and 4.52 ERA over six seasons.
"I felt like I gave everything I had here, and hopefully it will be a warm reception for me out there," Duke said, when asked how he expects to be welcomed back. "I tried my best to treat everybody well and keep my nose clean off the field. Hopefully, I don't get booed off the field. I feel like I don't deserve that, but you never know. It will be fun anyway."