Padres closer Trevor Hoffman writes the date, save number, score and opponent on each of 425 balls he has displayed at home to commemorate all of the saves of his career.
"Kind of like a diary, you know?" said Hoffman, who trails only Lee Smith (478) on the all-time list.
The ball for his 425th save, earned Wednesday to move him into second place on the all-time list, will be special because it will carry a note about longtime bullpen catcher Mark Merila, who for the second time in 11 years is battling a brain tumor. Merila hasn't traveled with the team since he had a seizure while riding a subway to Shea Stadium for a game against the Mets on July 19.
"Mark is going through so much," said Hoffman, who has 32 saves in 34 chances this year. "There's a lot of significance in really the hard work I get accolades for, he's the guy that's behind the scenes that has much more on his shoulders than going out and pitching a ballgame. This is something that I'm sure we'll share together.
"I might actually have him sign it."
Merila became San Diego's bullpen catcher in 1996, so he's warmed up Hoffman for the majority of his saves.
* BRADLEY GOES TO DL: Dodgers OF Milton Bradley, probably facing season-ending surgery on his left knee, was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
The Dodgers, riddled by injuries all season, recalled IF-OF Mike Edwards from Class AAA Las Vegas to replace Bradley.
Cesar Izturis might be the next Dodger to go on the disabled list. The all-star shortstop, bothered by lower back pain, is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam today.
Team physician Frank Jobe has recommended surgery for Bradley, but GM Paul DePodesta said the outfielder will get a second opinion. DePodesta said Bradley had an 80 percent tear of the patella tendon and issues with his left anterior cruciate ligament as well. Bradley was injured when he hit first base awkwardly Monday in a 5-2 loss at Florida.
Bradley is hitting .290 with 13 homers and 38 RBI in 75 games.
-- From News Services