Never one to mince words, David Wells is keeping a low profile during his latest return to Yankee Stadium.
The left-hander will make his first start against the Yankees as a Padre when San Diego and New York wrap up a three-game series in the Bronx.
Wells, who went 34-14 for the Yankees over the previous two seasons, signed with the Padres this past offseason, citing his desire to pitch in his hometown.
Wells expressed bitterness over how the Yankees handled his offseason surgery and how the media portrayed his leaving for San Diego in an article in a New York newspaper Thursday.
But whatever Wells feels about his departure, fans still favor the pitcher who helped the Yankees win a World Series in 1998 and made headlines with his freewheeling personality and penchant for the New York nightlife in his two stints with the team in 1997-98 and 2002-03.
“Sorry guys. I got stuff to do,” Wells said, when asked about his return to the ballpark he has pitched so well in during his career.
Wells is 44-18 with a 3.75 ERA in 84 career appearances at Yankee Stadium.
He hasn’t had nearly that type of success with the Padres this year, winning just two of his first six decisions despite a respectable 3.40 ERA. San Diego has managed just 12 runs while Wells has been on the mound in his nine starts.
He returned from a stint on the disabled list due to numerous minor injuries Tuesday, and battled Boston’s Pedro Martinez for 5 2-3 innings. Though the Padres eventually lost 1-0, Wells’ performance impressed Padres manager Bruce Bochy.
“He matched up with Pedro with zeros until I took him out,” Bochy said. “The other pitchers look at that and see it’s about competing, pitching to win.”
Wells did say that he was excited about starting Sunday but wasn’t sure what kind of reception he’ll get.
“We’ll find out tomorrow,” he said.
After a 10-2 win in Friday’s series opener, the Padres dropped a 3-2 decision on Saturday as Jon Lieber and three relievers combined to shut down San Diego.
The Yankees, who have the best record in the majors, have won 15 of 18 overall and are 31-10 following an 8-11 start.