Hoffman preaches patience for Padres fans

Soon-to-be Hall of Fame closer says club is 'on the right path'

May 13th, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- Padres fans are well versed in the team's memorable run to the 1998 National League pennant - a run that featured a handful of the greatest moments in franchise history.

That club -- which is being honored for its 20th anniversary this weekend at Petco Park -- wasn't built in a day. And closer Trevor Hoffman, who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this July, made a point to remind the current fanbase as much.

"That '98 team started its rebuild, we'll say, in '93 or so, so that's five years," Hoffman said. "I'm not going to put a particular number on it, but I think I'd like to preach some patience. I'm starting to hear an underlying tone about: 'Is the process going to hurry up.' I don't think there's a clear-cut answer. ... But I think we're on the right path."

Hoffman arrived in San Diego via trade in 1993 -- a year in which the Padres sold big-name veterans like Gary Sheffield, Fred McGriff and Bruce Hurst. They also acquired Andy Ashby in the Hurst deal, and over the next couple of seasons key contributors in '98 started to trickle in -- Ken Caminiti, Steve Finley, Wally Joyner to name a few.

Hoffman sees similarities. This iteration of the Padres went through an overhaul during the 2016 season in which they revamped the farm system, to the point where it's now considered the best in baseball by MLBPipeline. They also added veteran first baseman on a franchise-record contract during the offseason.

Before Saturday's game, the Padres honored that '98 team with about 20 former players on hand for a pregame ceremony. To a man, they echoed their desire for San Diego to once again experience a playoff environment.

"It was a pleasure being a part of it," Joyner said of his four seasons in San Diego, in which he won two National League West titles. "This is a tremendous fanbase when you have a nice product. They'll rally around you, they'll get excited for you, and they'll push you. ... We loved them, and they loved us, and it's been a 20-year love-fest. You come back in town, people remember, and they thank you."

Maton to DL; Makita recalled

Righty reliever was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday with a right-lat strain. Fellow right-hander was recalled from Triple-A El Paso in Maton's place.

The extent of the injury remains unknown, but it's certainly disheartening for the Padres. Maton was off to an excellent start to the season, having posted a 0.56 ERA over 16 innings.

Maton pitched two frames during Saturday's 13-inning victory over the Cardinals. The injury cropped up at the tail end of the 11th. He pitched the 12th anyway, and that's when it began to worsen.

"It's unfortunate. He's been really, really good," manager Andy Green said. "It was nothing he's ever felt before. He hasn't, in the time I've had him, had any arm issues whatsoever. ... He's been really durable, so when he came in hurting after the game yesterday, it was pretty obvious he needed some rest time."

Hedges, Renfroe on the mend

Catcher and right fielder have been out since April with elbow injuries. They could be nearing a return.

Green noted that Renfroe (right elbow inflammation) could begin a rehab stint this week. He's been playing games in extended spring training for about 10 days, but he hadn't begun playing the field until Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Hedges (right elbow tendinitis) will travel to Arizona on Monday to begin partaking in extended spring games. Green indicated Hedges might not be too far from a rehab.