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02/16/11 4:14 PM EST

Back in uniform, Hoffman lends hand to Padres

Retired saves king in camp in new role as special assistant

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's not uncommon to see Trevor Hoffman stroll though the clubhouse in Peoria in uniform, looking like he's prepared to ditch this whole retirement thing and keep adding to his Major League record saves total.

"No, it doesn't," Hoffman said, laughing. "As much as it looks like it, there's a distinct difference. I'm there [retirement]."

Hoffman, who announced his retirement last month during a ceremony at PETCO Park, is back in uniform this week in his new role as a special assistant in the Padres' baseball operations department.

Hoffman will be in Peoria for the foreseeable future, working with pitchers and lending help wherever he can.

"The best term for me is, 'his situation will be fluid.' He's a great sounding board for us and for the players," Padres manager Bud Black said. " ... He sees things from a player's perspective. He's been around the bullpen area here. I've seen him in a couple of pitchers' ears."

The only problem for Hoffman is not having a structured plan to follow. Consider it part of the perils of retirement.

"If something comes up, I'll float where I want to float," said Hoffman, who earned 552 of his 601 saves during 16 seasons with the Padres from 1993-2008. "There's nothing distinctly set.

"But not having that routine, you find yourself wondering what you should do next. But I'll be fine. I'll find ways to help out. I don't want to step on any toes."

Hoffman joins former players Brad Ausmus and Mark Loretta in the Padres' front office. Dave Roberts, the first-year first-base coach, was a special assistant last season before moving back to an on-field role.

So far, Spring Training has gone without a hitch for Hoffman, who shows up early in the morning like he did as a player.

He's even bunking with his older brother Glenn, who is the Padres' third-base coach. The two haven't shared the same living quarters since they were kids.

"It will be fine," Hoffman said. "He had space for me."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.