MLBPA's Clark visits Padres' camp, discusses recent honor

San Diego local thrilled with induction into Breitbard Hall of Fame

MLBPA's Clark visits Padres' camp, discusses recent honor

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As part of his tour of Major League camps this spring, Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark stopped at Padres' camp Thursday.

He saw a few familiar faces -- Clark played for the Padres and manager Bud Black for part of the 2008 season -- and answered questions from players, some about baseball's new pace-of-play rules.

Changes include requiring hitters to keep at least one foot in the batter's box between pitches, in most cases, as well as the addition of clocks meant to limit the time of pitching changes and between-innings breaks.

"It's not an attempt to reinvent the wheel; our game is great and it's been around for a long time. There are ways to improve certain areas and create different habits, so the game continues to progress and move forward," Clark told reporters.

"The adjustments that you see this year are that first incremental step."

While some hitters have expressed concern with the new rules, which will be enforced during games in spring, Clark is hopeful that after a period of adjustment, players will adapt.

"As we move forward into Spring Training and into the first month of the season, the hope is that the considerations that we've made, guys can get comfortable with it, can get settled in and that it doesn't end up being a topic of discussion beyond Spring Training … that it doesn't become a bigger topic than it already is."

Clark was also asked about his induction into the Breitbard Hall of Fame at the Hall of Champions in San Diego on Monday along with former Yankees first baseman Chris Chambliss and former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson. He wasn't able to attend the event, but plans on visiting the Hall of Champions during a visit to San Diego in April.

Clark, 42, attended both Valhalla High in El Cajon and later transferred to Christian High, where he played basketball and went on to average 43.7 points a game as a senior, breaking NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton's section record. He went on to play at the University of Arizona, but later transferred to San Diego State University.

"The Breitbard Hall of Fame is the collection of all the best San Diego athletes we've had," Clark said. "… To be recognized as part of that conversation -- I'm getting chills just thinking about it. When I got the call, I was excited to say the least."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.