Oakland A's Notes: Gaudin Golden

Gaudin has given the A's a lot of excitement.

It should still be a couple of weeks before Esteban Loaiza returns to the A's starting rotation. If Chad Gaudin keeps this up, the team may have an interesting decision on its hands.

Chad Gaudin, a converted reliever thrust into a starting role because of an injury to Loaiza, allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings during a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night. Gaudin has pitched into at least the sixth inning in each of his three starts this season and has a 1.96 ERA. Before this season, Gaudin hadn't started a game in the majors since June 14, 2005, with Toronto. He had made only 10 starts in 101 previous major league appearances and had a 6.04 ERA as a starting pitcher during his career.

Gaudin was a pleasant surprise in relief for the A's last season, compiling a 4-2 record and a 3.09 ERA in 55 games.

Loaiza hasn't pitched this season because of a bulging disc in his neck. He is expected to start throwing next week. The A's could be in the awkward position of removing either Gaudin or Joe Kennedy from the rotation. Both have pitched extremely well so far.

A'S 4, ANGELS 1: Bobby Crosby's three-run home run highlighted a four-run fourth inning and the A's moved to the .500 mark at 7-7. The A's added an unearned run after Garret Anderson dropped Travis Buck's fly ball for a two-base error and Jason Kendall drove him home with a single. Huston Street pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.

Wednesday's Notes:
--RHP Rich Harden isn't expected to miss any significant playing time after leaving Sunday's game with tightness in his pitching shoulder. An MRI on the shoulder came back negative, and the team said it probably would give Harden an extra few days off before his next outing. Pitching coach Curt Young said the earliest Harden would return is Tuesday in Baltimore.

--OF Milton Bradley missed his fifth consecutive game with a strained left hamstring, but manager Bob Geren said he was improving. Bradley ran sprints before the game with strength and conditioning coach Clarence Cockrell. It's possible Bradley could still land on the disabled list.

--RHP Esteban Loaiza came back from a doctor's appointment feeling good about his recovery from a bulging disk in his neck. Loaiza said he's close to 100 percent, but wants to be cautious about his return so he doesn't aggravate the injury. He expects to start throwing next Tuesday or Wednesday.

--2B Mark Ellis returned to the lineup after missing two games following being hit by a pitch in the shoulder against the New York Yankees on Friday. Ellis went 0-for-3 and struck out twice.

--OF/1B Nick Swisher did not reach base via a hit, walk or HBP for the first time this season. Swisher entered the game ranked third in the American League in on-base percentage at .456.

BY THE NUMBERS: 16 2/3 -- The number of innings right-hander Rich Harden pitched before allowing a base hit to a right-handed hitter (a bloop single by Alex Rodriguez).

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I tell you what, the way you see him is the way he is. He might be a rock star at home or something, but here at the field, he's quiet. He's respectful." -- Oakland reliever Jay Witasick on soft-spoken rookie teammate Jay Marshall, who has pitched well out of the bullpen this season.

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