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07/09/08 1:29 AM ET

Gaudin not just a throw-in for Cubs

Reliever has already compiled impressive career stats

CHICAGO -- Chad Gaudin is no throw-in.

The "other guy" in the Cubs' trade for Rich Harden has quality stuff and merits mention. The right-hander began the season starting for the Athletics, and posted a 3-2 record in six outings. His 3.75 ERA as a starter is lower than that of Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis or Sean Marshall.

Gaudin, 25, was 5-3 with a 3.59 ERA in 26 appearances with Oakland, and has a 3.38 ERA in his 20 relief appearances. He will be used in the bullpen, but also could sub in the rotation if needed.

"He's got a nice hard sinker, and a really nice slider," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "He'll fit in really nice in our bullpen."

In Oakland, Gaudin figured he would get his starting spot back if the sought-after Harden got traded. Gaudin just didn't expect to pack his bags, too.

"I am excited," Gaudin said. "I was kind of shocked, but mostly because it was both Rich and me leaving. I felt like if he was gonna go, I'd go back in the rotation here."

Gaudin began his career with Piniella in Tampa Bay in 2003, and spent 2005 in Toronto before moving to Oakland. His professional highlight came in Double-A, when he threw a seven-inning perfect game as part of a doubleheader in 2003.

Two starts later, Piniella called him up to the big league club at the age of 20, two years after being drafted in the 34th round. The Rays then dealt Gaudin to Toronto for catcher Kevin Cash after the 2004 season. That's when Lilly met him.

"I haven't seen him [in] a few years," said Lilly, who spent 2004-'06 as a Blue Jay. "I know he's got a good sinker and is capable of throwing a lot of strikes. I also know that since he left Toronto and went over to Oakland, he's done well."

Gaudin worked strictly out of the A's bullpen, and compiled a 3.09 ERA in 2005, made 34 starts in 2006 and plugged holes in both roles during the last two seasons. He may not be Harden, but he's not a slouch, either.

"He's got good stuff, there's no doubt," Lilly said. "He was up in the big leagues playing for Lou when he was [20 years old]. I know he can pitch, and he's proven himself. He could be quite a bit of help for us."

Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.