Who’s next, Tony Gwynn?

Earlier, I mentioned that the Padres hired Ken Caminiti as a part-time coach. Now they’ve re-signed Andy Ashby, in what looks like an attempt to re-construct the team that won the ’98 pennant.

Caminiti hit 29 homers for the ’98 Padres, and Ashby won 17 games. Two other guys from that team, Sterling Hitchcock and Joey Hamilton, are also back with San Diego, meaning the only regular starting pitcher from the ’98 Padres not under contract with the current club is ace Kevin Brown. Of course, closer Trevor Hoffman never left.

Ashby signed a minor-league deal, and will probably spend all of 2004 rehabbing his elbow with the hopes of pitching in 2005. GM Kevin Towers said, “By rehabbing him, we probably get first rights of refusal for 2005.” I’m not sure why you’d really want first rights of refusal for a 37-year-old Andy Ashby, but at the very least, it’s a nice gesture.

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