It's my first year here with the Nationals and so far everything's going well. As they say, so far so good.

But really I'm just thankful to be back at the Major League level. I started the year in Triple-A and Washington called me up about a month into the season. I'm happy to be here.

I had a good time playing in the Triple-A. It was a good experience for me. It was my first time down there since 1996. At first it was a bit strange, but I fell into the swing of things pretty quickly.

The last time I was at Triple-A was in 1996 with the Oakland organization. It seems like ages ago but I'll never forget the day they called me up to the A's. It's a time I'll never forget.

Now that I'm back in the big leagues, I'm closing in on 10 years' service. I'm looking forward to getting to that 10-year mark. It's something almost every player wants to accomplish.

It's difficult to explain how much you can learn and see in that 10-year span. It's like nothing else in this world.

I used to play for Montreal, which is really the same franchise as Washington. But since the move and the ownership change, the two teams seem like a world apart; they're not very similar at all. There's just a different mentality in the way the teams are run. One is not better than the other -- just different.

I don't have an exact time frame on how long I'd like to keep playing. Ultimately it's not up to me. I'll keep playing as long as I have the opportunity and keep enjoying it.

Whether I'm playing baseball or spending time with my family, I'll be happy because of the time I've already spent here.

Having begun his big-league career at age 22, Tony Batista is still just 33 as he approaches 10 years' service. Of his 21 hits this season, 13 have come as pinch-hits, including a home run on Aug. 28. A two-time All-Star, Batista finished fourth in the AL with 41 homers in 2000.