ATLANTA -- It was only a few short months ago that Tom Layne took stock of his reality and decided it wasn't nearly as bad as it appeared.
Layne had just been sent from Triple-A Tucson to Double-A San Antonio after posting a 7.77 ERA in five starts. He was 27 years old and taking a step backward wasn't anything to be excited about.
"Any time you're 27 and in Double-A, you question what you're doing," Layne said. "But at that point, I wasn't ready to give it up."
It's a good thing he didn't. On Tuesday, the Padres recalled Layne from Double-A San Antonio, as he took the place on the 25-man roster -- and 40-man roster -- of left-handed reliever Alex Hinshaw, who was designated for assignment.
"I really wasn't expecting it," Layne said Tuesday upon arriving at Turner Field.
The Padres asked the left-handed Layne to pitch out of the bullpen after sending him to San Antonio. He jumped at the opportunity.
"My heart has always been in relieving," he said. "I was having fun doing it. It made it fun to come to the ballpark each day. You can throw every day. I love being out there."
Layne had a 3.28 ERA in 32 games for the Missions with 36 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings. He also lowered his arm angle and saw a jump in velocity as well as an improved cutter.
"He's done really well since we put him in the left-handed role," said vice president of player development and international scouting Randy Smith. "His stuff played better."
Layne has mostly been a left-handed specialist, which is something the Padres have truly lacked since Joe Thatcher went on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right knee on July 26.
Layne has history with Padres general manager Josh Byrnes and assistant general manager A.J. Hinch, as he was drafted in the 26th round of the 2007 Draft. He was traded to the Padres in May after pitching for Triple-A Reno.
Hinshaw was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 31 games for the Padres. Previously, he had a 3.72 ERA in 14 games with Triple-A Tucson before being promoted.