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Hoffman, Sweeney reflect on 'special' '98 team

Padres honoring World Series club this weekend
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- Approximately 20 Padres from the 1998 National League pennant-winning squad converged on San Diego this weekend to commemorate the anniversary of one of the greatest teams in franchise history. This much was clear: none could believe how much time had passed.

"Twenty years is a long time, but it doesn't feel that way," said Padres TV broadcaster Mark Sweeney, an outfielder on the 1998 squad. "You get back together, and all of those memories start edging back into your mind."

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SAN DIEGO -- Approximately 20 Padres from the 1998 National League pennant-winning squad converged on San Diego this weekend to commemorate the anniversary of one of the greatest teams in franchise history. This much was clear: none could believe how much time had passed.

"Twenty years is a long time, but it doesn't feel that way," said Padres TV broadcaster Mark Sweeney, an outfielder on the 1998 squad. "You get back together, and all of those memories start edging back into your mind."

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The 1998 Padres won 98 games and the National League West. They beat the 102-win Astros and 106-win Braves en route to the Fall Classic, where they were swept by the Yankees.

Two decades later, it's not the records or individual accomplishments that stand out.

"It's been great to rekindle a lot of the same thoughts and friendships and emotions we had 20 years ago," Trevor Hoffman said. "We've only seen each other a handful of times since. ... I don't know if we knew at the time that we'd be a milestone-type team that would be brought back. But we knew we had something pretty special."

The Padres began honoring the 1998 team on Thursday night. A handful of former players gathered on top of the Western Metal Building before the game to reminisce and tell stories over a few beverages. Wally Joyner, Carlos Reyes and Dan Miceli even handed out Tony Gwynn bobbleheads at the Petco Park entrance gates.

A day later, the former Padres re-convened for a golf outing. But it's Saturday's game that figures to be most memorable.

Kevin Towers, the club's general manager, passed away in January. He'll be honored Saturday with induction into the Padres Hall of Fame. The team will wear its 1998 throwback jerseys with a patch to honor Towers.

"The weekend is twofold -- getting the whole group together, for one, but also honoring the architect of what that roster looked like," Hoffman said.

The patch will honor Towers along with Rob Picciolo, the longest-serving coach in Padres history, who also passed away in January.

Meanwhile, Ken Caminiti's two daughters were on hand to throw out Friday's ceremonial first pitch. Tony Gwynn Jr. threw out the first pitch Thursday, and his sister Anisha is slated sing the National Anthem ahead of Saturday's game.

In Sweeney's eyes, the 20-year anniversary celebration is most special because of the ways in which it honors Gwynn, Caminiti, Towers and Picciolo.

"We've lost four guys, and that's really crushing on us," Sweeney said. "I know we're going to have some time to be able to reflect on what those guys meant to all of us, which I think is paramount for us to get through together."

'Good news' on Hedges MRI results
Padres catcher Austin Hedges got his MRI results on Friday, revealing nothing major or structural in his ailing right elbow.

Video: NYM@SD: Hedges hits a 2-run single to left field

"It's good news," manager Andy Green said. "We weren't expecting really to find anything. I think it's more just for peace of mind."

That's precisely what Thursday's tests brought to Hedges, who hasn't played since April 30 because of elbow tendinitis.

"Today I feel so much better than I have the past week and a half just knowing, 'All right, I'm good, let's go for it,'" Hedges said.

Hedges continued playing catch on Friday -- a bit more extensively after he had begun throwing earlier in the week. He also hit for the first time since he sustained the injury.

Renfroe slated for rehab
Right fielder Hunter Renfroe could begin a rehab stint early next week as he recovers from right elbow inflammation.

Video: SF@SD: Renfroe belts go-ahead two-run homer in 7th

Renfroe has been playing games at extended spring training in Arizona, serving as a designated hitter. On Thursday, he played his first game in the outfield, clearing a significant hurdle.

Renfroe has been out of action since April 17. He was hitting .200/.281/.440 at the time of the injury.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres