Padres: Joe Musgrove will honor Jake Peavy by wearing #44

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /

Getting to play for your hometown team, the one you grew up idolizing is cool enough. But new Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove is kicking it up a notch in his first year in San Diego.

Musgrove, a San Diego area native, joined the team via trade from Pittsburgh this offseason and, from the start, has been nothing but amped about it. If you aren’t sold yet, his latest decision, to wear #44 in honor of Jake Peavy, his favorite pitcher growing up, might do the trick.

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"“A little nod to Jake Peavy, who was my favorite pitcher coming up, just who he was and the way he carried himself on the field,” said Musgrove, a Grossmont High product. “I was a very emotional and energetic player as a kid. My dad really instilled in me to be respectful, to not show up your opponent and play the game the right way. I always wanted to let a little more out than he wanted me to. Going to Padres games and seeing Peavy — snot flying, grunting and first bumping — that’s who I felt I was as a player. Seeing a big leaguer at that time doing the same thing gave me the confidence to be myself and play the game the way I wanted to.”"

Of course, Musgrove isn’t alone among Padres fans who love Peavy, who is tied for second all-time in franchise history with 92 victories. The righty won the NL Cy Young back in 2007 with San Diego and earned a pair of All-Star nods during his time with the Friars.

Padres hope Joe Musgrove will be the latest former Pirate to break out

Musgrove never turned into a front-of-the-rotation presence with the Pirates. But, then again, he’s not the first and probably won’t be the last, to fall into that category. The Padres are hoping the right-hander can play a big role for their team for years to come. The numbers suggest they might be onto something, too.

Last year, he ranked in the top seven percent of the league in terms of average exit velocity, at 85.1 MPH. His strikeout rate spiked, as well, clocking in among the top 10 percent of pitchers a 33.1 percent mark.

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Doling out a five-pitch arsenal, Musgrove relied on his curveball more than ever before – and it paid off in a big way. Opponents hit .050 against his breaking ball – so you can bet you’ll see plenty of it during his first go-round with San Diego. Donning #44, he’ll look to dole out some Peavy-level dominance when he toes the rubber at Petco Park this summer.