Former Padres Pitchers Tip Their Caps to Scripps Doctors

Trevor Hoffman and David Wells give kudos to the Padres team physicians

One is Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader. The other is a two-time World Series champion with a perfect game to his credit.

But former Padres pitchers Trevor Hoffman and David Wells didn’t enjoy long and successful baseball careers without a few health issues along the way. Both say they benefitted greatly from the support of the team’s medical staff from Scripps.

“Scripps doctors were always looking out for the players’ best interests and cared about each person individually,” says Hoffman, now a special assistant with the Padres. “The personal care they provide is a credit to the type of people they are and the passion they have.”

Hoffman was already the Big League career saves leader by the end of the 2007 season, but he was never content with his own accomplishments. He opted for offseason surgery by Dr. Heinz Hoenecke and Dr. Jan Fronek of Scripps to remove bone chips from the back part of his throwing elbow, which had prevented him from effectively finishing his pitches.

“The surgery gave my elbow more freedom and led to a few more years of productivity on the mound,” says Hoffman, who compiled 77 more saves and returned to All-Star form during his final three seasons after the arthroscopic surgery.

The procedure—and Hoffman’s own tenacity and talent—helped him become the first Major League pitcher to amass 600-plus saves.

Wells was starting his 20th Big League season in 2007 when Dr. Gaston Molina and Dr. Harry Albers of Scripps diagnosed him with Type 2 diabetes. The condition raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, limb amputation and other serious problems.

The diagnosis required a major lifestyle change for Wells, whose prodigious drinking and eating habits were chronicled in his 2003 memoir, “Perfect I’m Not.”

Under Scripps’ guidance, Wells immediately began oral diabetes medication. He also radically altered his intake of starches and sugars, cut back on wine and beer and increased his aerobic exercise.

Within a few months, Wells’ blood sugars came under control. And the three-time All-Star, now a baseball analyst with TBS, says his health remains strong today. “I can’t thank Scripps enough for being there for me,” Wells says. “They started me on a path to get my health on track for the long haul.”

Hoffman and Wells—along with the Padres medical staff from Scripps—will be honored during pregame ceremonies Aug. 2 at Petco Park.

Scripps has been the official health care provider to the Padres since 1981.

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Steve Carpowich