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They had to do something. The Padres couldn't let hard-luck
starter Joey Hamilton live through another year like 1995, when
an anemic offense gave him no support. So they spent big bucks
to improve the team. They signed free-agent leftfielder Rickey
Henderson and pitcher Bob Tewksbury, traded for first baseman
Wally Joyner and re-signed third baseman Ken Caminiti and
centerfielder Steve Finley.

Now San Diego is a wild-card contender and has an outside shot
at winning the West. Now it has help for Hamilton. Last year
Hamilton was supported by an average of 3.61 runs per game while
he was on the mound; in the NL only the Dodgers' Tom Candiotti
(3.45) got less help. San Diego's bullpen didn't aid Hamilton
either: Six times he left after the sixth inning with a lead
only to have relievers blow the games. He finished the season
6-9, with a 3.08 ERA (sixth in the NL) in 204 1/3 innings. The
last time a pitcher won only six games with an ERA that low in
as many innings was 1917.

"Wow," Hamilton says with a laugh. "With all of my
accomplishments as a hitter [he went hitless in his first 57
major league at bats before smashing a double last season], I've
done things that no one has done in a while."

He'll have more offensive assistance this year with Henderson in
the lineup. Henderson's acquisition means the Padres don't have
to play Melvin Nieves, who struck out 88 times in 234 at bats
last season, in left. He and the Dodgers' Billy Ashley set a
major league record for most K's in a season with fewer than 250
at bats.

The 37-year-old Henderson, who entered spring training with the
specter of an IRS investigation looming (though the Padres were
dismissing the chance of jail time), is well past his prime, but
playing in a new league could pump him up. Shortstop Andujar
Cedeno, who was pitiful at the plate last year, can't help but
be a better hitter this season. And the bench has been improved
with the signing of outfielder Chris Gwynn and infielders Mike
Sharperson and Craig Shipley.

"I'm real excited about what we've done this winter; our
1-through-5 guys in the order are unbelievable, as tough a five
as you'll see," says Hamilton, referring to Henderson, Finley,
Tony Gwynn, Caminiti and Joyner. Henderson and Joyner, who was
acquired from Kansas City in a deal for outfielder-second
baseman Bip Roberts, also significantly upgrade the defense;
Joyner and Caminiti give the Padres the best corner D in the
league. Cedeno, for his part, is steady up the middle, and
second baseman Jody Reed made just four errors in 131 games.

If Hamilton does have rough periods, he will no doubt be soothed
by the presence of the savvy Tewksbury, 35, who has been the
leader of staffs in St. Louis and Texas. He's one of the game's
best control pitchers as well as one of the most intelligent. He
should blend well with hard throwers such as Hamilton, Andy
Ashby and Scott Sanders, who is expected to be close to 100%
after rehabbing his injured right elbow in the off-season.
"They'll all learn from Tewks," says Padres manager Bruce Bochy.
"He knows how to win."

The Padres didn't know how to win in recent years, but they're
learning. Owner John Moores and chief executive officer Larry
Lucchino are aware that the only way to draw fans--and keep
baseball in San Diego--is to win. And the best way to do that is
to spend money. They pursued, albeit unsuccessfully, free-agent
second baseman Craig Biggio and outfielder Ron Gant, then spent
$1.625 million for Tewksbury (plus a $1.75 million option for
'97), $4 million for Henderson and a total of $12 million to
keep Finley and Caminiti for two more years.

Hamilton, 25, is looking forward to a more productive Padres
offense, though he never pointed a finger last season. "It was
frustrating," he says. "I might have lost my mind a couple
times, but I didn't tell anyone except my wife, Angie. She
caught the wrong end of it all season."

Hamilton's luck has already begun to change. In the off-season
he and Angie bought their first house, just outside Atlanta
(he's from Statesboro, Ga.), and he lowered his golf handicap to
eight. "He could go from six wins to 20 this year, easily," says
hitting coach Merv Rettenmund. "He can be a dominant pitcher in
our league."

With a little help from his friends.


COLOR PHOTO: V.J. LOVERO The Padres' new-look lineup will have one familiar sight: Tony Gwynn's swing. [Tony Gwynn in game]


1995 Team Statistics (NL rank in parentheses)

Batting Average .272 (3)
Home Runs 116 (11)
ERA 4.15 (9)
Fielding Pct. .980 (6)

A Rare Switch

Since the inception of the designated hitter rule in 1973, it
has been common for veteran National League players to switch
leagues late in their careers. Starting with Ron Santo in 1974,
12 players have joined an American League club after playing at
least 2,000 games exclusively in the National League. Rickey
Henderson will become only the third player in the last 30 years
to make his NL debut after playing at least 2,000 games in the
AL (the others were Graig Nettles and Willie Wilson).

Players Who Joined One League after at Least 2,000 Games in the
Other, 1973-95 (new team in parentheses)

Ron Santo (1974 White Sox)
Hank Aaron (1975 Brewers)
Willie Davis (1975 Rangers)
Billy Williams (1975 Athletics)
Ron Fairly (1976 Athletics)
Willie McCovey (1976 Athletics)
Tony Perez (1980 Red Sox)
Joe Morgan (1984 Athletics)
Graig Nettles (1984 Padres)
Ron Cey (1987 Athletics)
Jose Cruz (1988 Yankees)
Keith Hernandez (1990 Indians)
Andre Dawson (1993 Red Sox)
Willie Wilson (1993 Cubs)


He has always been the "other Gwynn." His lifetime batting
average may be 67 points below that of his Hall of Fame-bound
sibling, but Chris Gwynn, younger brother of Padres rightfielder
Tony, is a good player in his own right. He has had a .269
average over nine seasons, and though he has never played every
day in the majors, he'll be a valuable fourth outfielder for the
Padres. Chris, 31, played the last two years--and seven of the
last nine--with the Dodgers. Last season against San Diego, he
hit a game-winning, pinch-hit homer directly over his brother's
head. Now they'll be teammates for the first time, and they're
thrilled to be playing together. "I've always rooted for Chris,
except against us," Tony says. "Now I can root for him all the



LF Rickey Henderson[*] .300, 9, 54, 32
CF Steve Finley .297, 10, 44, 36
RF Tony Gwynn .368, 9, 90, 17
3B Ken Caminiti .302, 26, 94, 12
1B Wally Joyner[*] .310, 12, 83, 3
C Brad Ausmus .293, 5, 34, 16
2B Jody Reed .256, 4, 40, 6
SS Andujar Cedeno .210, 6, 31, 5


IF Scott Livingstone .337, 5, 32, 2
OF Chris Gwynn[*] .214, 1, 10, 0
C Brian Johnson .251, 3, 29, 0


RH Andy Ashby 12-10, 2.94
RH Joey Hamilton 6-9, 3.08
RH Bob Tewksbury[*] 8-7, 4.58
RH Scott Sanders 5-5, 4.30
LH Glenn Dishman 4-8, 5.01


RH Trevor Hoffman 31, 3.88
RH Bryce Florie 1, 3.01
RH Doug Bochtler 1, 3.57
LH Ron Villone 1, 4.21

[*] New acquisition (R) Rookie