Chad Gaudin wins last spot in Giants bullpen

Chad Gaudin wins last spot in Giants bullpen
March 26, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Chad Gaudin is 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA through nine appearances this spring. (AP)

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He had enough faith in himself that he could outperform the competition, too.

Gaudin did, establishing himself as a consistent strike thrower who keeps his infielders involved with his sinking fastball. And the Giants acknowledged it by purchasing his contract on Tuesday.

Gaudin will stand on the chalk line on Opening Day – the only new member of a championship bullpen that returns Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, George Kontos and Javier Lopez. Lefty Jose Mijares is expected to rejoin the group as well, unless he has an elbow setback in the next week.

“This is not the first time I’ve had to do this,” said Gaudin, who made the Florida Marlins on a non-roster deal last spring and did the same with the Washington Nationals a year earlier.

“You learn.”

Gaudin, who had his 30th birthday on Sunday, counted Casilla, Barry Zito and Marco Scutaro among his teammates with the A’s when he pitched there from 2006-08. He’s also logged innings for the Rays, Blue Jays, Cubs, Padres and Yankees.

The Giants will be his 10th major league team. Three more and Gaudin would match reliever Octavo Dotel’s major league record.

That’s not a mark he is striving to achieve. He’d prefer to stay with the Giants awhile.

“All these guys are so professional,” Gaudin said. “I know these guys have been together and have a history together. They’ve created a bond. I’m glad and blessed and privileged to be here. Everybody here has a baseball mind.”

Gaudin was 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA through nine appearances this spring. Although opponents batted .308 against him, he struck out 12 and issued just three walks in 16 innings while demonstrating the ability to serve as a long man – a role that Guillermo Mota served over most of the previous three seasons.

Gaudin outperformed another veteran right-hander, Scott Proctor, who had a 4.91 ERA in 11 games. Proctor remains in camp along with right-hander Jean Machi, although it would take an injury at this point for either of them to make the team.

Gaudin will earn $750,000 this season.

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In other bulllpen news, the Yankees claimed right-hander Dan Otero on waivers from the Giants.

Otero was the Gaudin of last spring -- the guy who won the last spot in the bullpen by throwing quality strikes. But he had a 5.84 ERA in 12 games while averaging nearly 14 hits per nine innings. The Giants had a minor league option on Otero, so clearly they valued his roster spot more than keeping him. After adding Gaudin, the Giants currently have two vacancies on the 40-man roster; they'll need one if they purchase the contract of outfielder Cole Gillespie, as expected. Keeping another spot open would allow them to acquire a backup infielder if they find one they consider an upgrade over their internal options.

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