Hand thrilled to remain in San Diego

Padres opt to hang onto their top relief pitcher

August 2nd, 2017

SAN DIEGO -- Brad Hand, being Brad Hand, spent Monday at the beach.

Never mind that Monday was also the non-waiver Trade Deadline -- the day Hand would find out whether he'd remain in San Diego or head elsewhere. Come 1 p.m. PT, Hand, who was with his family, occasionally checked his phone for updates.

"I did pay attention to it," Hand said Tuesday, still sporting a Padres cap. "I was at the beach with my family, but I wasn't going to be locked into it. I figured I'd get a phone call if something did end up happening, so I tried not to think about it."

On Tuesday, Hand was back at work, tossing a scoreless ninth inning to secure the Padres' 3-0 win over the Twins.

In the moments preceding the Deadline, Hand received a text from skipper Andy Green, informing him that he would remain a Padre -- great news in Hand's eyes.

"I'm excited to stay here," Hand said. "I like the team here. I like the direction they're headed."

After receiving word, Hand promptly went back to enjoying his day on the beach. Such is the low-key nature of the Padres' best relief weapon.

Green attributed that mindset to Hand's recent success in the face of countless trade rumors. Hand hasn't allowed a run in 20 consecutive outings, dropping his ERA to an even 1.96. His streak of 20 1/3 scoreless innings is the best in baseball.

"I never felt any pressure before the Deadline," Hand said. "You've just got to worry about the job at hand and worry about pitching. I don't think it weighed on me any more than today."

The job ahead of him is closing games for a suddenly surging Padres team. Hand entered that role last week when the Padres dealt to Kansas City (along with and ).

Hand could still see some time in the seventh and eighth innings, depending on matchups, Green said. But all things being equal, Hand is the likeliest closer, ahead of fellow candidates and .

"All of us are glad to have him in a Padres uniform," Green said. "Especially me, selfishly, as a manager."

The trade chatter surrounding Hand will cool off for a couple months. But it's not over. Hand figures to be a fixture on the Hot Stove market this winter.

Until then, he's perfectly content where he is.

"It's nice to see that they want me to be a part of the future here," Hand said. "However long I end up staying ... I'm happy to be here."