San Diego native Erickson enjoying being a Padre

After eight seasons with Dodgers, catcher excited to play for hometown team

San Diego native Erickson enjoying being a Padre

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As a Minor League free agent, catcher Griff Erickson had any number of opportunities to pursue this past offseason when it came time to look for a new organization.

But there was only one perfect fit.

Erickson, a San Diego native, jumped at the opportunity to sign with the Padres after eight seasons in the Dodgers' organization. Being a longtime Padres fan further cemented Erickson's decision to sign with his hometown team.

"When they contacted me, I was totally invested," Erickson said.

Erickson, who graduated from Westview High and attended Mesa College, grew up east of San Diego in Lakeside and recently moved to Carmel Valley, which is just north of downtown.

A wide grin washes over Erickson's face when he talks about his long love affair with the Padres, going to his first game when he was 5 years old in 1993.

"I remember standing by the bullpen yelling at Trevor Hoffman to give me a ball. I remember screaming and screaming and never got one," said Erickson, now 26. "We've got to talk about that."

Hoffman is currently a senior adviser for baseball operations for the team, but he is in uniform in big league camp and works with pitchers.

Erickson is a .254/.353/.406 hitter in eight professional seasons, all with the Dodgers. He hit .297 with seven home runs in 60 games last season in Triple-A.

Erickson has a connection, as do many of the former Dodgers here in camp, with Padres senior adviser to the general manager/pro scouting director Logan White, who joined the Padres this past offseason after 13 years with the Dodgers, where he had stints as director of amateur scouting, assistant GM of scouting, assistant GM of international scouting and, for the past two years, vice president of amateur scouting.

"Logan is a straight-shooter," Erickson said. "This [opportunity] started with him going to the Padres."

Erickson is the son of a former Minor League catcher Chuck Erickson, who played for seven years. At 6-foot-4, Griff Erickson is tall for a catcher and didn't start playing the position until high school. He's glad that he made the move.

"I can move around fine and don't have any problems," he said. "I wouldn't want to play anywhere else. I get to know the players on a more intimate basis, and I've forged some bonds that will last a lifetime."

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.