|Pads welcome new players, Hoffman stands by comments about trades|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 01 August 2007 15:42|
Giles stopped pitcher Clay Hensley as he walked into the clubhouse Wednesday afternoon.
``Hey, Buddy wants to see you,'' Giles said in his droll delivery, referring to manager Bud Black.
``Not funny,'' Hensley shot back.
Such is the gallows humor when three players are sent packing and three new ones come in.
In Rob Mackowiak's case, he thought it was a bit coincidental that his flight from New York to San Diego stopped in Chicago.
Also reporting Wednesday were slumping infielder Morgan Ensberg, acquired from the Houston Astros, and reliever Wilfredo Ledezma, who came over from Atlanta.
The Padres, trying to win their third straight NL West title, have lost 11 of 18 games since the All-Star break. They also fired hitting coach Merv Rettenmund on Tuesday and replaced him with Wally Joyner, who won't join the team until Thursday or Friday.
The acquisition of Ensberg, a third baseman, and Mackowiak, a utilityman, will shore up San Diego's bench. The Padres view the left-handed Ledezma as a swingman who can either throw long relief or make spot starts.
To make room for the newcomers, outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. was released after Tuesday night's 4-0 loss to Arizona, and right-hander Tim Stauffer and left-hander Joe Thatcher were optioned to Triple-A Portland.
Black called a quick team meeting before batting practice.
``It wasn't meant to do anything but to exchange my thoughts,'' the skipper said.
He also said he had no problem with statements by Giles and All-Star closer Trevor Hoffman about the uncertainty in the clubhouse spawned not only by Tuesday's three trades, but by other recent moves, such as the trade of setup man Scott Linebrink to Milwaukee.
``To be honest with you, I'm fine with it,'' Black said. ``You know why? It shows me they care about their teammates. I've got no problem with that at all. Showing emotion tells me they care.''
CEO Sandy Alderson, however, said he was ``disappointed'' in some of the comments that were made and planned to talk to the players involved.
Hoffman said Tuesday that the moves were ``lateral'' and that there was ``chaos in the clubhouse.''
``It's a new day,'' Hoffman said Wednesday. ``I'm basically going to leave it at this - the comments that were made were made out of honesty and emotion, where I feel I'm at. There's a moving-on period. It does no good to keep hashing stuff out. We have our team that we're going to go forward with. We'll do our best.''
Ensberg will be used to spell third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, even though Ensberg has never played at first. Mackowiak can play all the outfield positions and in the infield.
``I would assume I'll play a little bit of everywhere,'' said Mackowiak who played for Pittsburgh from 2001 until being traded to the White Sox in December 2005. ``I would assume that coming back to the National League is a better move for me because of my versatility.
``I've got all my gloves ready to be prepared for when I get in.''
Ensberg came over two days after the Astros designated him for assignment.
Ensberg was hitting .232 with eight homers and 31 RBIs in 85 games. That was far off the pace from his All-Star season in 2005, when he hit .283 with 36 homers and 101 RBIs and helped Houston reach its only World Series.
He was never the same after tearing a tendon in his right shoulder diving for a foul ball on June 9, 2006. He spent a month on the disabled list, then came back in August and finished the season with a career-low .235 average and only 58 RBIs.
Ensberg did homer off new teammate David Wells last Thursday in the Astros' 7-1 win over the Padres.
``It definitely has been kind of high and low,'' said Ensberg, whose family has a second home in exclusive Rancho Santa Fe, just north of San Diego. ``Getting designated was difficult, but in a strange sense, it was a relief. I had some great, great times in Houston, met some great ballplayers, but clearly it was time for me to go.
``The biggest concern of course, was simply, if I did get traded, beggars can't be choosers. I was just hoping it would be to a place that was good, that was competing.''