Hatcher battles pesky squirrel in bullpen

Hatcher battles pesky squirrel in bullpen

Hatcher battles pesky squirrel in bullpen
DENVER -- Justin Hatcher would do just about anything for the Padres' relievers, though his limits were severely put to the test Saturday at Coors Field.

Hatcher, the Padres' bullpen catcher, got all he could handle from a pesky squirrel that somehow got into the bullpen area beyond the wall in right-center field early in Saturday's eventual 9-7 victory over the Rockies.

Hatcher figured the smart thing to do would be to scoop it up and move it to a safer area, like out beyond the fence in center field where Evergreen trees grow.

Only it didn't work out that way.

"He scared Mike [relief pitcher Mike Adams] and then he ran up [bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds'] leg," Hatcher said. "So I thought that it would be fun to catch him.

"I picked him up and I really thought he was going to be nice. Then, all of a sudden ... he bit me. It even broke skin."

Said Adams, who Hatcher said provided no help through the ordeal: "The squirrel was just sort of hanging there from his thumb."

Hatcher eventually removed the squirrel with the assistance of a towel.

Not entirely knowing what to do next, Hatch worked his way to the visiting clubhouse at Coors Field through the tunnels below the grandstand. Akerfelds phoned ahead -- calling the training room to tell them Hatcher was on his way -- with a squirrel bite, of all things.

"At first, they thought I was joking," Hatcher said. "I went in and [Padres trainer Todd Hutcheson] cleaned it up. I guess there's a chance of rabies, so I have to watch it for the next 10 hours. I think it will be fine."

Hatcher eventually returned to the bullpen, where everyone resumed their normal routine. Adams went on to pitch a scoreless eighth inning, picking up his second victory as Brad Hawpe hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning.

Had it been Adams who was the one to initially come in contact with the squirrel -- well, who knows?

"I guess it was better me than the others," Hatcher said.