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Mark McGwire back in Padres camp after wife's illness

Peter Kramer/Getty Images

Mark McGwire is the new Padres bench coach, in case you had forgotten.  If you did, it's likely because he only showed up to Spring Training camp for a short time before he returned to his home in Irvine for undisclosed personal reasons.  We learned today upon McGwire's return and subsequent press conference that the reason for his absence was because his wife Stephanie had taken ill and he was needed at home. McGwire and his wife have five kids, three of which are triplets.

Mark McGwire Returns, Addresses Media " Friar Wire

"I had to take care of my wife and my five children. I think she’s on the backside of this right now, so she’s getting better. It wasn’t life-threatening, thank God. All tests came back negative, but it was important enough for me to be there for three weeks.

McGwire said that he had been in close contact with Padres manager Andy Green and hitting coach Alan Zinter fairly regularly while away from camp.  He also was able to watch players via the internet, so he's not necessarily starting from scratch, but he admits that there's nothing like being able to evaluate in person.