Joey Hamilton gets a minor league contract with the Padres to try and make the club during spring training. Hamilton, a 6-4 right-hander, was a first round pick of the Padres in1991. Hamilton hasn’t been the same pitcher since leaving San Diego in 1998. He hasn’t had a winning season since (the 2-1 record in 2000 doesn’t qualify). Last year with the Cincinnati Reds he pitched in just three games and had an ERA of 12.66. He did go 8-3 with a 3.23 ERA in Louisville last season. At 33, he may be looked at as an option for the fifth spot in the rotation, or more likely he will be in town to push some of the other guys vying for a spot on the team, such as Ben Howard.
News elsewhere is slow. Kevin Towers has talked with the agents for Brad Ausmus and Benito Santiago and the trade routes seem to be exhausted. A deal for Ramon Hernandez is still a possibility and AJ Pierzynski talks have slowed with the Padres. A deal is reportedly on the table from the Chicago Cubs.
Twins general manager Terry Ryan, in Phoenix this week for major league baseball's annual GM meetings, wouldn't comment on Pierzynski's availability.
In other news the Padres may be on the way towards securing their first reliever. Yakult Swallows free agent closer Shingo Takatsu is reportedly close to a deal with the Friars. Padres GM Kevin Towers and Takatsu's agent, Joe Urbon, met yesterday and reportedly made substantial progress on a pact that would bring the sidearming sinkerballer to the big leagues.
Takatsu has a career ERA of 3.13 and he saved 34 games last year. He will be 35 later this month.