SAN DIEGO -
Construction will begin this week to move in the outfield fences at pitcher-friendly Petco Park, the baseball stadium where home runs go to die, the Padres announced Monday.
The park's dimensions will shrink by up to a dozen feet in the power alleys, according to the Padres.
"Our goal is to move Petco Park away from being the most extreme run suppressing ballpark in Major League Baseball," said Ron Fowler, who leads the Padres' ownership group. "After an extensive study, it became clear to all of us that some change was needed."
The outfield wall in left-centerfield will be moved in, from 402 feet from home plate to 390 feet, while the right-center dimension will be reduced 11 feet to 391 feet. Other dimensions will remain the same, according to the Padres.
"Petco will still be a pitcher's park, however, it will no longer be the outlier," Fowler said.
Distant fences, combined with cool and damp nighttime air, has made it a challenge for sluggers to knock the ball over the fence since the park opened in 2004. The situation has made it difficult for the small-market team to sign big-hitting free agents.
With the extra room, the Padres will move the visitor's bullpen behind the outfield wall to address a player safety issue, and relocate the out-of- town scoreboard.