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Padres’ Hoffman Sets Deadline

February 25, 1999

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) _ San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman has set the end of spring training as a deadline for signing a contract extension with the San Diego Padres.

``The ball is 100 percent in their court,″ agent Rick Thurman said Thursday. ``He doesn’t want to take it into the season.″

Padres general manager Kevin Towers declined to comment on whether the club is preparing a new offer, but had lots of praise for the 31-year-old right-hander just days ago.

``I wish you could take the Trevor Hoffman mold and make more like him. He’s just a very genuine guy,″ Towers said. ``I think what makes him special is he cares so much about other people, his teammates.″

Hoffman converted 53 of 54 saves last season, the best percentage (.981) in baseball history, and finished second in the Cy Young voting to Atlanta’s Tom Glavine.

Thurman, who will be in Phoenix for the weekend, said he doesn’t think Hoffman is expecting much from the Padres. Hoffman, who will make $4.1 million this season, is believed to be seeking a four-year, $30 million extension with a no-trade clause.

The Padres last offered $24 million for four years before talks broke down in December.

``They’ve been dragging their feet for a long time now,″ Thurman said. ``Every day that goes by, the mark continues to rise.″

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