"It was a little weird," Thames said. "I didn't know where the training room or any of that stuff was. I went out early and saw some of the guys, but after that, it's time to play baseball. It's good to be back, and I'll try to chip in when I get in there tonight."
Thames wore a Tigers uniform from 2004-09, honing his craft and expanding a reputation as a dangerous force against left-handed pitching. He said that his fondest memories in Detroit came during the 2006 campaign.
"I made the team out of Spring Training, and we went to the playoffs for the first time while I was here," Thames said. "We went to the World Series. I had a lot of firsts here, and I won't forget it, but now I'm back with the Yankees. That's where it all started."
Thames said that he planned to be in the dugout for Monday's pregame ceremony paying tribute to late Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who passed away on May 4 at the age of 92.
"Ernie was a great guy -- he'd talk to even the janitors," Thames said. "He remembered everyone's name. He remembered everything. He loved the game of baseball. He left his mark here in the state of Michigan and on baseball. The people here were crazy about him."