Gaudin reunites with Athletics

Gaudin reunites with Athletics

PHOENIX -- Back in green and gold, Chad Gaudin made his way onto the field Monday morning wearing the same number he sported in his first stint with the A's from 2006-08.

It was during that time the right-hander, stamped with No. 57, was transferred from the A's starting rotation to the bullpen -- a move that never sat quite well with him. He was then shipped to the Cubs along with Rich Harden in the middle of the 2008 season and has since been traded again and released twice.

Now he's back -- with a one-year contract worth $700,000 plus incentives. And he's ready to serve in any role the A's send his way.

"It feels real good," Gaudin said. "All the guys welcomed me with open arms. It's good to see familiar faces and be a part of something. I want to do what I can to help this team."

Initial reports about Gaudin's return surfaced Sunday, when assistant general manager David Forst confirmed the deal. However, the A's didn't officially announce the signing until Monday.

Gaudin, 27, gives the A's another right-handed setup option for a rather depleted bullpen, which got word Monday that righty Michael Wuertz will miss Opening Day with rotator cuff tendinitis. As a result, manager Bob Geren deemed Gaudin an "extremely strong candidate" to land on the 25-man roster come season's start.

"He's a guy that can be very versatile," the A's skipper said. "We're confident that he can start. He can long relief, even middle and short relief. He's done that before in the past, too. At this point where he's at, we'll be looking at him as a reliever ... and kind of go from there."

Gaudin most recently played with the Yankees, with whom he garnered a World Series ring last year after going 2-0 with a 3.43 ERA in 11 games for New York. However, his spring numbers -- 0-3 record with a 8.68 ERA -- quickly left him out of the fifth-starter competition, which led to his release Thursday.

"I was in the fight for the fifth spot in the rotation, and I was just trying to iron out some things," Gaudin said. "We had a lot of guys throwing little innings, so it was hard to get work in."

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Gaudin quickly got to work with the A's on Monday morning, as he threw a bullpen session and is slated to appear in a game Wednesday. He's stretched out to 80 pitches and mentioned he's "pretty resilient wherever they need me."

"They need some bullpen help from what I've heard, so I'm going to come in and help the team," he said. "Where I end up is where I end up, but I'll be locked in 100 percent wherever that is."

Gaudin said he considered "a couple" other teams before deciding on a second tour with the A's, but in the end, it became a "fairly easy" decision considering the history he built in Oakland -- where he hopes to bring along the winning ways he experienced in pinstripes.

"Once you get a taste of that, it's what you want," Gaudin said. "It's fun to win. I'm just going to come in and help where I can."

When traded by the A's in 2008, the right-hander expressed a sense of shock since he figured Harden's departure meant a rotation spot for him in Oakland. On Monday, though, he appeared very much content with the way things transpired.

Said Gaudin: "Of course, anytime you get traded from something that you're enjoying -- love the clubhouse, love the guys, love the team -- I guess you could say it's a disappointment and brings up mixed emotions, but it's part of the game and comes with the territory, so I embraced it. But that was in the past and now I'm here."

As for the present, Geren believes Gaudin's versatile presence will lend the A's much comfort in the midst of dealing with a battered relief corps.

"It's very helpful knowing him as a player and person," Geren said. "His experience with us makes it much quicker to have him ready."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.