PEORIA, Ariz. – Ryan Ludwick is looking to bounce back.
The outfielder hit .251 with 17 homers and 69 RBIs last year for St. Louis and San Diego, which finished two games back of World Series champion San Francisco in the NL West.
He arrived at spring training 8 pounds heavier than last season, with 1 percent less body fat.
"There's a lot of key factors individually and team-wise that make this a huge year," he said Monday. "I feel strong. I'm extremely excited to be back in a Padre uniform. I got to know these guys for two months last year, and now being here from Day 1, it's exciting. I feel like we got a taste last year, and this year we can prove that last year wasn't a fluke."
Ludwick hit .211 with six homers and 26 RBIs in 59 games with the Padres after the July 31 trade. He said he never fully healed from a calf injury, even after a 28-day stint on the disabled list that lasted into July.
"It kind of lingered there a little bit," Ludwick said. "I never re-pulled it, but I wouldn't say it ever got back to 100 percent. Was it 90, 95 at times? Yeah. But I wouldn't say it got back to 100 percent until a month of rest."
A year shy of free agent eligibility, he agreed to a one-year deal for $6,775,000. One of his goals is to win over Padres fans he may have disappointed last season.
This year, he'll make the switch to left field from right.
"I came over with the reputation of being a hard-nosed player and I feel like, at times, I just didn't get the job done," he said. "Hopefully, I can prove to the Padres fans that I'm going to give it my all. I think they were a little down on me last year."