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McGwire returns to St. Louis for first time as visitor

ST. LOUIS -- Mark McGwire played 280 games in St. Louis, but it wasn't until Monday that he entered the visiting dugout. McGwire returned to Busch Stadium as the Dodgers' hitting coach for the first time since retiring as a Cardinal and serving three seasons as their hitting coach.

"It's always good to come back here," McGwire said. "I've never been in the visiting dugout, so it's been sort of weird to come back here and go the other way instead of making that quick right turn into the Cardinals' clubhouse. It's going to be four great games, four battles, like I've told the guys."

Although he's no longer working in St. Louis, McGwire has kept tabs on his former players from afar.

"I look almost daily to see how they're doing," McGwire said. "They're getting better and better, that's what I saw. John Mabry, excellent hitting coach. They' just haven't missed a beat. If anything, they're better, and that's a good sign."

McGwire said the current Dodgers, who entered St. Louis on a 14-game road winning streak, remind him of the 2011 Cardinals who won the World Series.

"We were just going through the season and had a lot of injuries, then a big trade. It took time, and all of a sudden, the team gelled together and look what happened, won a World Series," he said. "That's sort of the feeling that's happening here in L.A. That's a great feeling. Guys are putting things together."

Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for
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