Chad Gaudin Looks to Earn His Keep with the Yankees

by

September 22, 2009

Chad Gaudin takes the mound for the Yankees in Anaheim on Tuesday night. It is his fifth start for New York, and by far his biggest one this season.

It?s easy to forget that Gaudin — whom the Yankees picked up from the Padres on Aug. 9 in exchange for $100,000 — is still just 26 years old, perhaps because he?s already with his sixth organization. Originally a 34th-round draft pick by the Rays in 2001, Gaudin spent the majority of his big league career with the Oakland A?s, before being shipped to the Cubs in the Rich Harden deal last year.    

A sinker-slider pitcher, Gaudin relies on groundballs to get outs, but occasionally struggles with his command. And it?s those command issues that have held him back to a 33-35 record and 4.53 ERA in the early years of his career. Since joining the Yankees, Gaudin has made eight appearances, four of them starts, and walked 16 batters in 29 1/3 innings of work. He has been fortunate to log a solid 3.68 ERA in pinstripes, despite a bloated 1.57 WHIP.

Tuesday?s outing will be particularly significant for Gaudin, because ? like the Yankees as a team ? he has demons to exorcise in Disneyland. Gaudin?s last start against the Angels came during interleague play in June, when he was a member of the Padres, and it was his worst of the year. He left without recording an out in the fourth inning, after being shelled for 10 hits and two homers. 

Overall, Gaudin has made 18 career trips to the mound against the Halos, four of them starts, and compiled a 3-3 ledger and 5.53 ERA in 53 2/3 total innings. His opponent on the mound, righty Ervin Santana, is 5-2 lifetime in seven starts versus the Yankees, albeit with a 5.09 ERA. 

The Yankees have won Gaudin?s last three starts, though he?s taken a no-decision in each of them. Manager Joe Girardi gave Gaudin the opportunity to supplant Sergio Mitre in the rotation two weeks ago, hoping that he?d emerge as a quality long reliever and emergency starter for the postseason.

If Gaudin can pick up his first victory as a starter in a New York uniform on Tuesday, he will have earned his keep.

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