FLB: Padres preview
Life in a pitchers' park is tough; just ask the San Diego Padres. In their first two years in their new home, PETCO Park, the Padres and their opponents combined for 250 home runs and 4,247 total bases, both worst in the majors from 2004-05, and registered a .253 batting average, the third-worst rate overall. (Those exclude Washington's RFK Stadium, which was reopened in 2005.) Much of that can be attributed to the quality pitching staffs San Diego compiled, but go ahead and ask Padres right fielder Brian Giles how he felt about PETCO's spacious dimensions. He was one of the park's most vocal critics.
Good news, Brian, you got your wish. The Padres moved in the outfield fences in right-center 11 feet during the winter, bringing them to about 400 feet away from home plate. The changes were specifically designed to help the team's left-handed sluggers, Giles and Ryan Klesko, who hit a combined 29 homers at home from 2004-05. By comparison, Mark Teixeira hit 30 homers in his home ballpark in 2005 alone.
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