At 7 last Sunday morning, Clayton Richard was running alone across the outfield grass at the Padres training facility.

“I’ve seen guys who work hard,” observed Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley. “But I’ve never seen anyone work harder than Clayton and Trevor Hoffman.”

Richard’s workout regimen has taken on legendary status with Padres teammates because they know there is no way they can match his devotion to preparing himself physically and mentally.

During much of the year, Richard’s workout partner is bullpen catcher Justin Hatcher, who joked recently about the pair’s in-depth conversations during workouts: “One, two, three, four; one, two, three, four.”

“Nobody can keep up with Clayton when it comes to discipline and the drive to improve himself,” said Hatcher.

Richard would disagree.

“What you see is the inspiration and lessons passed down by my parents,” Richard said of Barry and Cindy Richard.

When Clayton was born in 1983, Barry Richard was a policeman in Lafayette, Ind., and he and his wife also ran a group home for troubled teenagers. As Richard and his two younger sisters grew up, their father also was a property manager, ran a used car lot and established a business cleaning parking lots at night.

“Tireless,” is how the left-handed pitcher described his father. “He was absolutely dedicated to doing anything he could to help his family.”