MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — At the start of the season, Trash Pandas fans were expecting to see Alabama native and 2022 SEC player of the year Sonny DiChiara rejoin the team after playing 36 games in the Rocket City last season.

It took a little longer than expected, but Sonny D is officially back in town.

DiChiara started 2023 at the Los Angeles Angels spring training camp, but he quickly sustained an upper-body injury that left him sidelined for the start of the Double-A season.

He rejoined the squad on the road last week and crushed a home run against the Biscuits, but this week is his first home series of the year.

As DiChiara makes his return to Toyota Field, he says it’s been quite the road to get back.

“I didn’t really get to have a spring training, to be honest with you,” DiChiara said. “First day, I threw from the plate and had some problems with my shoulder, so it’s kind of hard to talk about takeaways from spring training, but I guess from the last 6-8 weeks I just kind of learned you have to work hard and you have to stay on top of your things so you can be healthy and play this game every day.”

The Trash Pandas’ series against the Smokies continues Friday night at 6:35 p.m. at Toyota Field.