HOUSTON -- Former Major League outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds, hired recently by the Padres as a professional scout, was watching a Florida State League game a week ago as an odd thought occurred to him.
"I was sitting in the stands and realized that, 'You know what? I've never been to a Single A game before,'" Hammonds said.
The 40-year-old Hammonds never experienced a Class A game as a player, as he was the fourth-overall pick in the 1992 First-Year Player Draft by the Orioles. He began his professional career at the Double-A level.
Hammonds is now getting a taste of the lower levels of the Minor Leagues, as his reentry into baseball after a career that ended in 2005 has him tagging along with Padres scouts who have more experience.
"I have kept my ear to the game ... but until now I haven't really been involved like this," said Hammonds, who along with his wife has three children, ages 3, 7 and 14. "I won't say I was tired, but I wanted to be a husband and a father."
But Hammonds visited the Padres during Spring Training in Arizona and decided not too long thereafter that he wanted to be involved in the game again.
"I believe in what they're doing is not for the short-term," Hammonds said of the Padres front office regime. "When I sat down with [Padres general manager Jed Hoyer and vice president of professional scouting A.J. Hinch], I was impressed to hear their baseball philosophy."
Hammonds has familiarity with several members of the Padres front office, as he went to Stanford, the same school as Hinch, the man who hired him. Hinch is in his first full season with San Diego.
Hammonds' first agent, who negotiated his deal with the Orioles after the 1992 Draft, was current Padres vice chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad, a former agent.
"I'm going to show him every level and make sure he gets a good understanding of what players look like at every level," Hinch said. "He's got the intelligence, the perspective -- he's a bright guy with a great feel for baseball. He's got all the ingredients.
"My goal is for him to see every level."
Hinch said Hammonds will be paired in the Florida State League with professional scouts Joe Bochy -- who signed Mat Latos -- and Mike Venafro. Hammonds will join scouts Van Smith and Kevin Jarvis to scout the Double-A Southern League later on.
"You've got to attach yourself to some veterans. This is what I was hoping for. I would be a fool not to listen," said Hammonds, who was career .272 hitter. "I'm excited. I want to learn.
Hudson pinch-hits during finale with Astros
HOUSTON -- Orlando Hudson, who had started the Padres' first 14 games of the season, wasn't in the starting lineup on Sunday but entered the Padres' 8-6 win as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, hitting a sacrifice fly and walking in two plate appearances.
Eric Patterson got the start at second base.
Hudson saw his 11-game hitting streak end in Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Astros. He went 0-for-3 with a walk. Carlos Lee made a diving catch of Hudson's opposite-field line drive to end the seventh inning with two runners on base.
Black has made it a point to give all of his position players starts early in the season, not just for reasons like Sunday when he gave Hudson a chance to get off his feet for a day.
"You want to get some guys some starts and get them in the flow," Black said. "You don't want to wait too long to get guys a start."
Hoyer takes in Kelly's Double-A start
HOUSTON -- Padres general manager Jed Hoyer spent three days watching the club's Double-A affiliate in San Antonio before returning to Houston for Sunday's game against the Astros.
On Friday, Hoyer watched the Padres' top prospect, right-hander Casey Kelly, in his first home start for the Missions.
Kelly allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts in six innings in a no-decision against Northwest Arkansas.
Kelly, who was one of four players the Padres acquired from the Red Sox in the winter trade that sent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to Boston, got 13 ground-ball outs in the game.
"He threw the ball well and got a lot of ground balls. He's still got a lot to work on but there's a lot to like," Hoyer said. "He knows what he has to do."
After two starts this season, the 21-year-old has a 3.48 ERA in 10 1/3 innings. Opposing teams are hitting .211 against him.
Denorfia leaves game with bruised forearm
HOUSTON -- Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia left the club's 8-6 win over the Astros after the fourth inning with a bruised right forearm.
Denorfia suffered the injury when he collided with the rail in foul territory after making a running catch of Bill Hall's fly ball in foul territory. He was replaced by pinch-hitter Will Venable to start the fifth inning.
"I knew I was going to be close to the wall ... I kind of misjudged it," said Denorfia, who also banged his right knee on the rail. "Luckily, the trainers got to it quick and got the swelling to go down."
Denorfia is listed as day to day.
Denorfia, who hit a home run in a victory over the Astros on Friday, was 0-for-2 before leaving the game. Venable went 1-for-3 with two RBIs.