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Wells close to signing with Padres
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Old 31 Dec 2003, 12:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Wells close to signing with Padres

David Wells apparently will be pitching for his hometown San Diego Padres in 2004.


The Padres are expected to announce that the left-hander, who at one time was close to finalizing a minor-league deal with the Yankees, has signed an incentive-laden one-year contract, the San Diego Union-Tribune and the New York Post reported in their Wednesday editions.


The Padres have scheduled an announcement for this afternoon, according to the Union-Tribune. Wells, who graduated from San Diego's Point Loma High School, will receive a base salary of just under $4 million, the newspaper reported.


When reached by the Post on Tuesday, Wells' agent, Gregg Clifton, would only say that "the Padres have shown a great deal of interest in David."


The deal also signals the end of the Padres' pursuit of free agent right-hander Greg Maddux.


"We are only going to sign one more starting pitcher," general manager Kevin Towers said last week after signing Sterling Hitchcock and Ismael Valdes to round out the bottom of the rotation.


"Maddux is looking for more years and a lot more money than we were willing to give him."


Wells, who will turn 41 in May and had back surgery a month ago, had been offered salary arbitration by the Yankees, for whom he pitched the last two seasons. The team did so because Clifton and the club were close to finalizing a minor-league contract for the pitcher.


If Wells had been added to the major league roster, the Yankees deal reportedly would carry a base salary of $3 million with incentives and would have contained clauses to ensure that Wells stays in good physical condition. Yankees manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre were angered when Wells stopped throwing between starts last summer and went winless in seven starts.


Last month, New York declined a $6 million option on Wells, who earned $14 million during his two-year contract with the Yankees. He was 15-7 with a 4.14 ERA in 30 starts last season and 19-7 with a 3.75 ERA in 31 starts in 2002.


Wells left Game 5 of the World Series after one inning because of a back injury, and had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back.

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Old 31 Dec 2003, 01:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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