Alls Wells to be a San Diego Padre

When David Wells talked with reporters via a conference call on Friday, he spoke as if the New York Yankees were in for a nightmare season. After supposedly agreeing in principle to a deal with them, which he responded to during the call, he watched several players leave the team. That movement could have helped spur him on to play for his hometown team, the San Diego Padres.

"They lost a lot of guys at once and I think they're in shock," David Wells referred to the Yankees losses of Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and now Wells.

"We had a proposal," Wells said in a conference call with reporters. "The only thing I agree with was the money terms, which was good. They wanted me to weigh in once a week, and I agreed to that. A lot of other issues weren't agreed to. To say I reneged on the deal, like I did in Arizona, that's not the case at all. There were a lot of conditions in that contract I never would agree upon, no way. I'd be stupid if I did."

Oddly enough, the conference call went off earlier than expected Friday and many New York area reporters missed out.

Seems the media on the east coast was spurned much the same as the Yankees were.

The Padres signed "Boomer" for a $1.25 million guaranteed over one year. If Wells starts 35 games, he will earn $7 million. That has not happened since 2000, but he has topped 30 starts seven of the last eight years.

"I won 34 games the last two years, which I think is pretty good," said Wells.

In 2003, Wells had 19 quality starts, going six or more innings allowing three earned runs or less. In 2002, he had 18 quality starts.

With the lineup the Padres will employ in 2004 – that could mean a bunch of wins for the lefthander.

Wells reports that he is healthy and ready to roll for the Padres in 2003, and by roll is not the "weigh" he plans on getting around the bases.

"I'm going to go in there and try to get in the best shape I can," Wells added. "I've dropped a ton of weight from the surgery, so it's going to make it a lot easier for me."

The last time he ran the bases with any regularity was in 1995 with Cincinnati. He was 6-5 in that 11 game stint.

Now Wells will come back to his roots.

"Every kid dreams to play for their own home team," Wells said. "I'm no savior. I just go out and do what I've been doing for 17 years. My goal is just to go out there and be David Wells."

The Wells over the last eight seasons has averaged over 15 wins. That includes a season where he had only five wins due to injury.

He has left his future open. The Padres immediate concern is 2004. They plan to use Wells as their number one starter and hope his success continues. It will go a long way towards their playoff aspirations.

Interestingly enough, the Padres visit the Yankees in a three-game inter-league series June 11-13. Makes you wonder if Wells will be scheduled to pitch that series.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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