Hammonds joins Padres as professional scout

Hammonds joins Padres as professional scout

Hammonds joins Padres as professional scout
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.