Trevor Hoffman

trevor hoffmanOh, this is bad news.

“We’re hoping to avoid opening up the shoulder,” Towers said. “But if he ended up having surgery, he could be out longer than two months . . . maybe most of the year. It just hasn’t gotten better.”

And who will replace Trevor? The pickings are slim, but not without hope:

Having passed on former Braves closer John Rocker, the Padres are scouting right-hander Hippolito Pichardo, formerly of the Royals and Astros and now a free agent pitching in the Caribbean World Series. Pichardo would be a long shot to get save chances with the Padres. More likely, he’d build depth behind the team’s current setup men, a group that includes Jay Witasick (who was signed over Dave Veres, the former Cardinals closer), Brandon Villafuerte, Luther Hackman, Clay Condrey and left-hander Kevin Walker.

Towers, no stranger to sugary projections, is touting power right-hander Jaret Wright, a former starter for the Indians, as another candidate.

“We’re hoping that maybe we’ve got an Eric Gagne in the making – hoping,” Towers said, referring to the Dodgers’ former starter who was the National League’s top closer in 2002.

I kind of like the Jeret Wright option. He throws hard and hasn’t had much success holding a lead as a starter — the profile of most eventual great closers, from Goose Gossage to Eric Gagne.

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