Eric Hosmer has joined the San Diego Padres, and will wear a jersey number to honor late Kansas City teammate Yordano Ventura.
Hosmer and the Padres completed their $144 million, eight-year contract Monday night. The first baseman joined the team hours after it held its first full-squad workout of spring training.
Hosmer will wear No. 30 in honor of Ventura, a pitcher who died in an auto accident in the Dominican Republic last year. Hosmer asked Padres third base coach Glenn Hoffman for the number.
"It really meant a lot to me, and 'Hoff' was more than open to letting me carry on the number," Hosmer said Tuesday. "And like I told him, I'll wear it with pride each and every day."
Hosmer has been asked to play a leadership role with the Padres after his experience in Kansas City, where he won a World Series with the Royals in 2015. He said he looks forward to that role having seen the many young players the organization is developing in the major and minor leagues.
"It was fun to get the vision and see where San Diego is trying to lead this young group of guys," Hosmer said. "For them to want to bring me in to be a part of this, to help guide these guys and to help bring this city a world championship ... I'm just happy to be a part of it."
The Padres did some extensive background work to see how Hosmer fits from a baseball and business perspective with an organization not known for being big spenders the last couple of years. They received a great deal of positive feedback from a number of scouts and baseball personnel people, general manager A.J. Preller said.
"Eric as a player brings a lot to the table. From an offensive standpoint, demonstrated an ability to hit for average, hit for power, get on base, he doesn't punch out, he's a two-way player," Preller said. "We put on a premium on all those things."
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