There are times like Tuesday, when the temperature struggles to climb into double digits in Peoria, Ill., that Mike Dunne feels like a 60-year-old man instead of a major league pitcher for the Padres.
“My leg’s been doing pretty good,” said Dunne, 27, “but on days like this, when its gets so cold, those bones get pretty achey.”
Dunne, who will be trying to prove he can still pitch in the big leagues after suffering a fractured right leg July 18 when hit by a line drive, signed a one-year contract with the Padres for $235,000, with about $80,000 worth of incentives.
The Padres also announced the signings of pitcher Jeremy Hernandez and third baseman Tom Redington. Hernandez and Redington each signed split contracts, and will earn the major-league minimum $100,000 if they make the big leagues.
The Padres are inviting 24 pitchers to their spring-training camp, which opens Feb. 25 in Yuma, Ariz. Three of the pitchers aren’t on the roster: Tim Scott, Brian Holton, and Terry Gilmore. The other non-roster players invited to camp, according to Joe McIlvaine, Padre general manager, are: catchers Mike Basso, Dann Bilardello and Brian Dorsett; and second baseman Marty Barrett.
“I’ve got my work cut out for me, that’s for sure,” Dunne said. “I just want to stay healthy for once, and show what I can do.”
Dunne, a member of the 1984 Olympic team, was selected the 1987 Rookie Pitcher of the Year by The Sporting News. He was placed on the disabled list in 1988 with a strained rib-cage muscle, underwent rotator cuff surgery in 1989, and broke his leg last season.
“I’ve been throwning and running about every day,” said Dunne, who was 0-3 with a 5.65 ERA for the Padres in 1990. “I’m ready to go. I’ve just got to get psyched up for that drive to Yuma. That’s the hardest part about camp.”