Ledezma, Gardner gain extra work

Ledezma, Gardner gain extra work

MESA, Ariz. -- The Padres lost in the ninth inning to the Cubs on Thursday, but plenty of worthwhile observations were gleaned by the San Diego coaches.

Because Greg Maddux only pitched two innings, due to a left thigh bruise, both Mike Gardner and Wil Ledezma received extended looks.

Friday, meanwhile, Brian Giles will get his first game action since microfracture surgery on his right knee. He is expected to play in a Minor League game.

Gardner, trying to make the club as a Rule 5 draftee, allowed three runs and one hit in two innings, while Ledezma yielded only two hits in four scoreless innings.

"Wil looked good today," acting manager Craig Colbert said. "I thought he had a better fastball the last couple innings than in the first two. He threw some good changeups, some good breaking balls."

Ledezma has long intrigued scouts and executives with his combination of strong stuff and left-handedness, but Major League success has been fleeting. In parts of five seasons with Detroit, Atlanta and San Diego, he's 15-20 with a 5.28 ERA.

Control has often been an issue, as Ledezma has struck out 194 in 306 2/3 innings but has walked 138.

Ledezma, though, was voted as having the best control in the Eastern League in 2004, and his Minor League record is 28-16 with a 3.47 ERA, so the ability is certainly there. At age 27, he's allowed only four hits and one run in seven innings this spring as he battles for a roster spot.

Prospect Cedric Hunter impressed in center field, making a nice, running, over-the-shoulder catch of Kosuke Fukudome's deep fly ball in the sixth.

Continuing their spring one-upsmanship, outfield contenders Jody Gerut, Paul McAnulty and Chase Headley all hit high fly balls to the warning track. Fukudome made a spinning catch at the wall in right-center in the third to rob Gerut.

Callix Crabbe continued his utilityman training by playing most of the game at shortstop. Crabbe, who easily leads the Padres in spring at-bats (33), had three singles in four at-bats and made several nice plays defensively.

Another utility candidate, Marshall McDougall, was perfect at the plate. He walked three times and hit his first Cactus League homer, a solo shot, in the fifth. He was charged with an error while playing first base, but only because his throw to second trying to complete a double play hit the runner in the back.

Mark Thoma is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.