SAN DIEGO – The Padres traded counteroffers with David Wells’ agent on Thursday, hoping to wrap up talks that would make the 43-year-old left-hander the No. 5 starter for his hometown team.

“I would say it was our best offer and our final offer,” said general manager Kevin Towers, who would like to have a deal done by Friday.

Agent Gregg Clifton said the talks were positive. “Both sides still have a little reflecting to do on each other’s position,” he said by phone from Arizona. “We’re all working toward a resolution as soon as possible.”

If Wells returns to the Padres, their rotation will get decidedly older. In December, the Padres signed 40-year-old Greg Maddux to a $10 million, one-year deal.

The Padres obtained Wells for the stretch run last year. He went 1-2 with a 3.49 ERA in five starts, then lost Game 2 of the division series to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Sosa, Rangers negotiating deal

DALLAS – Sammy Sosa and the Texas Rangers kept up negotiations on a minor league contract Thursday, working their way toward a deal.

The Rangers and Sosa’s agent, Adam Katz, have exchanged a couple of proposals. While they could finalize a deal this week, Katz said Thursday that the sides had not yet reached an agreement. Texas has offered Sosa a deal that would require him to earn his spot on the roster during spring training. The 38-year-old former slugger, 12 short of 600 home runs in a 17-season career that began with the Rangers in 1989, didn’t play in the major leagues last year.

If completed, the contract likely would be worth about $500,000 if Sosa is placed on the 40-man roster.

He would have the chance to earn additional performance bonuses.

Sosa returned home to the Dominican Republic after working out for the Rangers in Texas on Monday. It was his second workout for team officials, who previously went to the Dominican Republic to watch him.

Texas rookie manager Ron Washington was impressed by what he saw during Monday’s workout in an indoor batting cage. Washington said Sosa would primarily be a designated hitter if he makes the team, and bat in the middle of the order with Mark Teixeira, Michael Young and Hank Blalock.