After four disappointing seasons with Texas, Park makes his debut for the struggling Padres when they continue a three-game series against the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates.
Park was acquired by the Padres in a trade with the Rangers on Saturday for slugger Phil Nevin.
He began his major league career with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994 and went 80-54.
“He adds depth to our pitching staff, and is now returning to a division where he has enjoyed great success,” Padres general manager Kevin Towers said.
Before the 2002 season, the Rangers signed the veteran right-hander to a $65 million, five-year contract in hopes of acquiring a staff ace. However, Park went 22-23 in just 68 starts for the Rangers, and struggled with injuries. He never posted an ERA lower than 5.46 in four years with Texas and went on the disabled list five times, plagued primarily by back problems.
“Sometimes injuries gave me less confidence,” said Park, who is 8-5 with a 5.66 ERA in 20 starts this season. “Sometimes I just didn’t pitch well. I just want to go back to the National League and hopefully be a better pitcher. And I think I can because I am more healthy.”
Park has lost three straight decisions, and was 1-4 with a 6.68 ERA in his last six starts with Texas. He gave up six runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings of an 8-3 loss to Oakland on July 24.
“We’d like to see him get back to where he was when he was one of the best pitchers in the league,” San Diego manager Bruce Bochy added.
Jake Peavy threw seven solid innings and helped San Diego’s slumping offense by driving in his first run of the year as the Padres beat the Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday—just their second win in 14 games.
Khalil Greene, Mark Sweeney and Mark Loretta each drove in a pair of runs for the Padres, who had gone 14 games without scoring more than six. San Diego has won just 19 of its last 54 games, but leads Arizona by a game in the mediocre NL West.