Take a bow, Trevor

Milestones come and go but some are to be savored. When San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman snared his 400th career save, it was time for a timeout - even if the game was already over.

Padres teammates swarmed the mound at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Friday after Trevor Hoffman struck out So Taguchi to become only the third closer to reach the 400-save milestone.

And the next afternoon, he was back at work, picking up No. 401, which Padres manager Bruce Bochy said goes to the core of what Hoffman is all about.

"Consistency," Bochy said. "He knows how to handle defeats as well as victories. Even after getting his 400th save, he knew we might need him tomorrow in the afternoon game. And he was ready."

Celebrate, Hoffman did. But after enjoying the moment, he quickly returned to the routine that he has refined and followed throughout his career.

"Turn the page," he said. "Sometimes it's hard after a particularly rough loss. But win or lose, you have to be ready physically and mentally the next time they hand you the ball. So you turn the page."

Hoffman got his 400th save in his 450th opportunity -- an .889 conversion percentage that is far superior to that of the two pitchers above him on the all-time saves list. Lee Smith leads with 478. John Franco is No. 2 at 424.

Hoffman, a 37-year-old former minor league shortstop, said his feat starts with his late father Ed -- known to Angels fans as the "Singing Usher of Anaheim Stadium" -- and brothers Greg and Glenn.

Ed Hoffman wouldn't let his three sons throw curves in their youth.

"Greg and Glenn taught me to be competitive and the virtues of being part of a team," Trevor Hoffman said.

Hoffman signed with Cincinnati as an infielder after he was selected in the 11th round of the University of Arizona. He converted to pitching in 1991 after the Reds determined he would never hit enough to be a major league shortstop.

"They were right," Hoffman said.

He was the fourth player taken by Florida in the 1992 expansion draft and was traded to the Padres a year later for Gary Sheffield in a deal that was part of the Padres' famed "fire sale" housecleaning.

All but two of his saves have come as a Padre.

Tony Gwynn was a legend at the plate - Hoffman has become a legend on the mound. Taking a minute to savor it is more than acceptable for a pitcher who has meant so much to Padres' baseball.


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