MESA, Ariz. -- While the Padres were defeating the Cubs, 7-3, at HoHoKam Park on Saturday, veteran right-hander Greg Maddux had a successful return after missing one start with a mild abdominal strain, working on the back fields of the Peoria Sports Complex against Texas Rangers Minor Leaguers. Maddux toiled for four scoreless innings in the 100-degree heat, allowing a hit while walking one, striking out eight and hitting a batter. He threw 58 pitches, 39 for strikes, and even had a double in two plate appearances. Afterwards, Maddux proclaimed himself healthy.
"I felt good," said the 40-year-old Maddux, who is the winner of 333 games in his 20-year career. "[The heat] wasn't bad. It was hot only when you stopped. But as long as you were moving, it wasn't bad." Maddux opted out of his last start Monday against the White Sox in Tucson, saying he could have undoubtedly played if it had been a regular-season game. Maddux told Padres manager Bud Black that he thought he had tweaked his abdomen throwing a pitch when he previously started March 8 against the Cubs in Peoria. Maddux, a free-agent signee this past offseason, has a 3.60 earned run average (two earned runs in five innings), with two walks, four strikeouts and no decisions in his first two spring starts for the Padres. He understood the precautions Black was taking by holding him out of the Major League game and giving him the start in Peoria, with monitoring his health as the primary criteria. "I would rather have gone to Mesa, but I understand why I didn't and I am OK with that," Maddux said. "[Staying in Peoria] was more convenient for me personally, but it's not about being convenient, it's about getting ready for the season. Everything went well, so I can't complain." When asked what the next step would be with Maddux, Black said: "I haven't thought that far ahead, but five days, probably in a Major League game." That places Maddux on target to face the Cubs on the main field in Peoria. Stauffer stuffed: If Tim Stauffer wasn't completely sure about his fate, he probably sealed it Saturday when he started and pitched only one shaky inning against the Cubs. Stauffer is now undoubtedly ticketed to Triple-A Portland. "Going in, it was going to be kind of hard because of the numbers game there," he said. "Not a whole lot of spots available. But I was still hoping to finish strong, end the spring on a high note. Maybe now that's not going to happen. But I was throwing the ball pretty well before." The right-hander, who was the Padres' first-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, allowed four of the first five batters he faced to reach base, including a three-run homer off the bat of Derrek Lee, his second of the spring. Stauffer was scheduled to throw two innings, but he said he was yanked by mutual consent with Black, who said Stauffer had already exceeded his pitch limit.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.