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Sunday, March 28, 2010
Spring Training Blog: March 28


GAUDIN BACK WITH OAKLAND (8:34 p.m. ET)

Right-hander Chad Gaudin has agreed to terms with the Oakland Athletics to help shore up their injury-riddled pitching staff, three days after being released by the New York Yankees.

Gaudin was released by New York on Thursday after losing out to Phil Hughes for the No. 5 slot in the team's rotation. He is expected to take one of the spots in A's bullpen.

Oakland assistant general manager David Forst on Sunday confirmed the deal. The move was first reported by FoxSports, citing unnamed league sources.

Terms were not disclosed.

Gaudin, who previously pitched for the A's from 2006-07, struggled this spring after pitching well as a part-time starter with the Yankees in 2009. He was 0-3 with an 8.68 ERA in four outings when he was released.

-- The Associated Press

LOPEZ STATES CASE (8:24 p.m. ET)

Rodrigo Lopez made his strongest case yet for cracking the Arizona Diamondbacks rotation.

The 34-year-old right-hander blanked Milwaukee on three hits over 5 1-3 innings in the Diamondbacks' 9-1 victory Sunday. Lopez, a non-roster invitee, did not allow a run for a second straight outing and has given up one earned run over 13 1-3 innings since giving up three runs in his first spring start.

"If not the best, it's one of the best spring trainings I've ever had," Lopez said.

Former Diamondbacks left-hander Doug Davis was battered for six runs and nine hits in five innings. Miguel Montero doubled in three runs and was one of four Arizona players to get two hits off Davis.

-- The Associated Press

NADY GETS ACTION (8:02 p.m. ET)

Chicago's Xavier Nady was 0 for 3 while starting his first game in the outfield since last April, following Tommy John surgery in his elbow. The former Yankee had only one fielding play: He cautiously threw a double by Casey Kotchman back into the infield in the first.

"It felt good," Nady said. "That's all I'm supposed to do out there right now, get to the ball and throw it back into the infield. ... I want to be patient. By no means am I out there cleared to let it loose. I still have a lot of work to do."

-- The Associated Press

PADRES GO WITH GARLAND (6:36 p.m. ET)

Jon Garland has been named the San Diego Padres' Opening Day starter by manager Bud Black.

Garland, who in January signed a one-year deal worth $4.7 million which includes a $600,000 buyout for 2011, will face Dan Haren and the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix on April 5.

Last season, Garland went a combined 11-13 with a 4.01 ERA for the Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Black also announced that Chris Young would be the Padres' starter in the season's second game, and Kevin Correia would pitch the series finale against Arizona.

"It's a big honor, especially being my first year with the team," Garland said. "[Chris Young] was an All-Star, Kevin [Correia] had a great year last year for them -- they are definitely deserving."

In other news, the Padres are being cautious with left-hander reliever Joe Thatcher's shoulder. Thatcher, who last pitched on March 19, had a cortisone shot on Saturday and is expected to miss several days. Black said there is a possibility that Thatcher, who was 1-0 with a 2.80 ERA in 52 games in 2009, could miss the start of the season.

-- The Associated Press

LUDWICK TAKES TWO OFF LEG (6:28 p.m. ET)

Cardinals slugger Ryan Ludwick left a game against the Mets with what the team called a "left shin contusion," according to MLB.com.

He fouled two balls off his shin during his third-inning at-bat. He stayed at the plate, however, and hit a long home run to left field.

Ludwick did not take his spot in right field in the next half inning.

-- ESPN.com news services

NOLASCO 1-HITS ASTROS THROUGH 7 1/3 INNINGS (5:52 p.m. ET)

Right-hander Ricky Nolasco turned in another solid start Sunday, allowing one hit in 7 1/3 scoreless innings in Jupiter, Fla., as the Florida Marlins beat the Houston Astros 4-0.

Nolasco retired the first 16 batters he faced before Jason Castro lined a single to right with one out in the sixth inning.

Nolasco had one minor flaw: He issued his first walk of the spring, missing on a 3-2 pitch with one out in the eighth inning. After the walk, which came on his 95th pitch, Nolasco left to a standing ovation at Roger Dean Stadium.

Astros first baseman Lance Berkman, who had knee surgery two weeks ago, took swings in the batting cage in Kissimmee. No word yet on whether he'll start the season on the disabled list. "Hopefully in a day or two we'll be able to answer that question with a little more certainty," Astros manager Brad Mills said.

-- The Associated Press

BACKUP CATCHER CASTRO LEAVES WITH APPARENT INJURY (5:09 p.m. ET)

White Sox catcher Ramon Castro left the team's split-squad game in Surprise, Ariz., against the Texas Rangers on Sunday in the top of the second inning with an apparent leg injury.

Castro pulled up between first and second after looping a double down the left-field line and walked into second base. He jogged slowly to third on Jayson Nix's subsequent single before he was replaced by a pinch-runner.

Castro, the backup to starter A.J. Pierzynski, hit .184 in 31 games with the White Sox after he was acquired from the Mets last July for pitcher Lance Broadway. He has played parts of 11 seasons in the majors, six with Florida and four-plus with the Mets before the trade.

-- The Associated Press

CUBS' LEE SITS WITH FOOT INJURY (4:35 p.m. ET)

Cubs slugger Derrek Lee has been scratched from Chicago's lineup because of lingering pain in his foot.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella said before Sunday's game against the Seattle Mariners that his first baseman and primary run producer fouled a pitch off his foot in a game about a week ago and then again during subsequent batting practice. Piniella said Lee's foot is still bothering him, so he gave him the day off.

Lee had treatment Sunday morning at the team's facility in Mesa, Ariz., before the team sent him home.

Piniella said Lee may play Monday or Tuesday. He said he is not concerned, and that "Derrek will be ready to go" for the season.

-- The Associated Press

OLSEN BOOSTS BID FOR ROTATION SPOT (4:04 p.m. ET)

Left-hander Scott Olsen made his case to be the Washington Nationals' fifth starter, throwing 5 1/3 solid innings in a 9-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday in Viera, Fla.

Olsen allowed seven hits and two runs -- one earned -- and struck out four while walking none. It was his best outing of the spring and far more effective than his last start, when he gave up six runs and 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings against Detroit.

He made only 11 starts for Washington in 2009, going 2-4 with a 6.03 ERA before surgery on his left shoulder in July. He's competing with Livan Hernandez and J.D. Martin for a roster spot.

-- The Associated Press

ROYALS' MECHE HAS BULLPEN SESSION (3:43 p.m. ET)

Kansas City Royals right-hander Gil Meche has had his first bullpen session since last pitching on March 22 because of a stiff shoulder and neck.

He threw 63 pitches Sunday in Surprise, Ariz. Meche said his shoulder felt fine after the four-inning session and he used all of his pitches.

If Meche has not setbacks this week, the Royals plan for him to pitch Saturday in the final exhibition game, against the Texas Rangers. That would put him on target to start April 9 against the Boston Red Sox.

-- The Associated Press

KENNEDY EARNS SPOT IN DIAMONDBACKS' ROTATION (1:46 p.m. ET)

Ian Kennedy got the good news Saturday: He's earned a spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation.

Manager A.J. Hinch told Kennedy he'd made the cut after Kennedy allowed two runs in six inning against the Cleveland Indians on Saturday.

"I'm obviously really happy," Kennedy told The Arizona Republic.

Hinch told The Republic that Kennedy would start either the third or fourth game of the season.

"When we brought him to camp," Hinch said, "we penciled him in. We wanted him to win the job, and he progressively throughout the spring showed us that he was ready."

-- ESPN.com news services

TWINS' MORNEAU TAKES OUT FRUSTRATION ON TRASH CAN (1:44 p.m. ET)

Justin Morneau doesn't take kindly to spring training slumps.

The Minnesota Twins beat the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, but Morneau was 0-for-4, dropping his spring training average to .200.

Morneau made contact with a trash can, however, damaging it with his bat.

"That's normal for spring training," manager Ron Gardenhire told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "There comes a time always in spring training where one or two guys get a little mad at themselves and snap and break something, so it's that time.

"We're good right now, a little extra work and we're going at it."

-- ESPN.com news services

BLUE JAYS RELEASE GATHRIGHT (1:42 p.m. ET)

The Toronto Blue Jays released outfielder Joey Gathright and re-assigned two other players Sunday.

Gathright was held hitless in both Friday's and Saturday's games.

"Like I told him in the room, I said, 'Joey, when we brought you in, it wasn't to help us win a Pacific Coast League championship in [Triple-A] Las Vegas, it was to try to win a spot on this team,' " Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told the Canadian Press on Sunday morning. "And with the way spring has gone, the way our depth chart is starting to look right now -- even in the minor leagues -- he'd probably be pretty far down in the outfield depth charts in terms of call-ups."

Infielder Brad Emaus (.410 average this spring) and outfielder Chris Lubanski (.189 in spring) were re-assigned.

-- ESPN.com news services

BRAVES SIT HEYWARD FOR SHIN SPLINTS (1:39 p.m. ET)

Outfielder Jason Heyward has been scratched from the Atlanta Braves' lineup against the Washington Nationals because of shin splints.

Heyward was slated to play right field in Sunday's exhibition game, but manager Bobby Cox held him out as a precaution, and the Braves said the rookie is day to day. Cox said Friday the 20-year-old would open the regular season as Atlanta's regular right fielder.

Shortstop Yunel Escobar and catcher David Ross did not make the trip to Viera. Escobar has tightness in his lower back and missed a third consecutive game. Ross injured his groin last week.

Right-hander Tommy Hanson originally was supposed to start Sunday, but because rain was forecast, the Braves had him throw six innings in a minor league intrasquad game instead.

-- The Associated Press