Hampson used to big league shuffle
Right-hander has been sent down seven times this season
SAN DIEGO -- Sent up, sent back down. Sent up, sent back down. Sent up, sent back down. Sent up, sent back down. Seem redundant? It is. Unless, you're a Major League Baseball player that hasn't yet established himself, then it's the norm.
And if you're the San Diego Padres' Justin Hampson, the feeling of continually being sent up and sent back down is commonplace. Hampson, who joined the Padres in 2007 after being with the Colorado Rockies organization, has been sent down seven times this season.
"I think you just got to roll with it, at least that's what I try to do," Hampson said. "No matter where I'm at, I just go out there and do the best I can and get people out. Obviously, you hope to be up here doing it. But sometimes it doesn't work out that way. I think you still got to keep your head on straight and go about your business. And hopefully, if you're not here, you'll get here and if you are here, you'll stay here."
Young guys like Hampson don't think relocating to and from Triple-A Portland and San Diego is that big of a deal. It isn't like someone forced them to sign up for their gig. Once the ink from their pen scribbled their name on the dotted line, they knew what they're getting into.
"It's the nature of the business," said outfielder Chip Ambres.
Ambres was sent on assignment back to Portland on Tuesday. He played in eight games after his contract was purchased by the club on July 8.
The continual movement isn't only an on-field adjustment. Moving from one state to the next can be a hindrance on personal comfort levels as a player's home is where his suitcase is, rather than his heart.
A hotel here, a hotel there, a clubhouse here, a clubhouse there -- all in an attempt to solidify a spot in a rotation, bullpen or lineup.
"It comes with the territory," Hampson said. "I knew when I first signed to play baseball that it could possibly be that way. Guys who get to live in a house, wash their clothes and put their clothes on a hanger in a closet, that's a lot nicer."
Hampson is looking for this trip up to be a lot nicer. He struggled in his last stint with the Padres, making 10 relief appearances, going 0-1 with a 7.27 ERA before he was optioned to Portland on June 27. Hampson has learned a little bit since then.
Putting in 11 innings while in Portland gave him the consistency he needed to possibly make this callup not end in another sent down.
"I think it was a matter of trying to get in a rhythm as far as my timing with my mechanics," Hampson said. "I was coming off a sore shoulder and I think I was a little bit off. It's just one of those things where you got to get out there, get through it and get your timing back.
"I feel like I've made some good strides and I feel pretty good throwing the ball now. So I'm just gonna try to keep the same mindset that I have all the time, which is throw strikes, try to get people out as quick as possible and put up a zero."
It'll take some good outings and some confidence instilled in him by the coaches. For Hampson, he'll lean on his family for support since their emotions are his emotions.
"They're really happy for me and congratulatory when I go up," then his voice drops and he continues with, "and not as happy when I go down. But I guess that's just the way the game goes."
Ronald P. Clark is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.