A's Spring Notes: Gaudin On Target For Return

If the Oakland A's are going to be competitive in 2008, their starting rotation will have to perform above expectations. One major component of that rotation is Chad Gaudin, who had an ERA under 3.00 during the first half of the 2007 season before struggling in the second half. Gaudin is recovering from surgeries to his foot and hip, but is on schedule to make his regular season debut April 12.

Even as the competition for the No. 5 starter spot heats up, No. 4 starter Chad Gaudin is on target to make his first scheduled regular-season appearance on April 12 at Cleveland.

Gaudin had hip and foot surgery in December and is about two weeks behind the rest of the Oakland starters, but the A's took into account that their season-opening trip to Japan would mean extra time to get Gaudin ready and have proceeded slowly with him. Because of the Japan trip and early off-days in the schedule, the A's won't need a fifth starter until April 12.

On March 1, as planned, Gaudin threw off of the mound for the first time since September. The right-hander showed no signs of a layoff, throwing hard in a 20-pitch session, all fastballs and throwing with full effort.

Pitching coach Curt Young noted that because Gaudin wasn't coming back from any sort of arm injury, the arm strength wasn't ever in doubt.

"Very lively," Young said. "He wasn't holding back."

What Young is focusing on is making sure Gaudin's mechanics are sound. A preseason foot injury last year caused Gaudin to alter his delivery, which led to the hip problem, and his effectiveness was drastically reduced in the second half.

Gaudin is expected to appear in a Cactus League game toward the end of the A's Arizona camp, and he'll probably then remain in Phoenix while the team goes to Japan so he can get in work in minor league games.

The fifth starter spot, meanwhile, promises to be a strong competition: Lenny DiNardo, Dan Meyer, Dallas Braden, Dana Eveland, Greg Smith, Kirk Saarloos, Chris Gissell and Gio Gonzalez all had some good moments in the first week of games.

Oakland Clubhouse Top Stories