Jack Clark knows his acquisition by the San Diego Padres made them an instant contender, but says the pressure of lofty expectations doesn't compare to that of playing for the New York Yankees.
"With the Yankees, they expected to win. They have to win. Every game is the seventh game of the World Series," Clark said Thursday."That's just the way it is. There's a lot of pressure. They're not patient. They expect it right away, and that makes it tough. If you lose a game or a guy doesn't make a play, they want to make changes. That makes it tough for the whole team to be a team."
The power-hitting Clark, whom the Padres have penciled in as their first baseman and cleanup hitter next season, said he was thrilled with Monday's trade that sent him and pitcher Pat Clements to San Diego for pitchers Lance McCullers and Jimmy Jones and reserve outfielder Stan Jefferson.
"We've got some good hitters on this team and I think I'm one of them," said Clark, who batted .242 with 27 homers and 93 RBI last season, primarily as a designated hitter for the Yankees.
"There shouldn't be any reason why this team can't ... get close to winning the (NL West), the pennant and hopefully the World Series," he said.
"I think the Padres could have a good thing for a long time. Once I found out about the trade, I got excited for next year already. I haven't felt like that for a while."
Clark's acquisition gives the Padres the power hitter they lacked desperately last season, when a strong season-ending run left them in third place with an 83-78 record. Carmelo Martinez led the club in homers with 18, while NL batting champ Tony Gwynn drove in 70 runs to lead the Padres in that category.
"I know I'm going to hit by 15 to 20 home runs and drive in my 85 to 90 runs, but I might hit 40 (homers) and I might drive in 130," said Clark, who joined the Yankees in January as a free agent after 13-plus National League seasons with St. Louis and San Francisco.
"I can just concentrate on winning and hitting. That was difficult in New York."