Cashner solid as trade rumors swirl around him

Cashner solid as trade rumors swirl around him

ST. LOUIS -- Andrew Cashner is well aware that he's been the subject of trade speculation since the start of the season's second half, but that doesn't mean he's spending too much time dwelling on the possibilities.

"What good is worrying about it going to do?" Cashner said after tossing 5 2/3 strong innings in the Padres' 6-5 loss to the Cardinals on Thursday night. "I know I'm going to be traded. It's just part of the game, part of where the season's at."

Cashner put his best foot forward for potential suitors on Thursday, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out eight on a muggy night.

In the past week, Cashner's trade value has shot up, as he's put together arguably his best two-start stretch of the season. Last Friday he limited the Giants to one run over six innings while striking out nine.

Cashner's dominant start

So what's been the biggest key to his success? Well, his four-seam fastball has been brilliant recently, but he gives as much credit to an uptick in his slider.

"I think that's what I struggled with this whole season," he said. "I've messed with probably 10 different [slider] grips and finally got back to where I was last year with it and finally staying behind it."

Cashner cruised through four innings on Thursday, setting down the Cardinals in order. He was just as sharp in the fifth, but Yadier Molina flailed at a 2-2 slider and poked it into left field for St. Louis' first hit.

After Molina stole second, Cashner reached back to strike out Randal Grichuk and Tommy Pham with 96-mph heat. He ran into some trouble in the sixth after a scary moment when his heater grazed Matt Holliday's nose.

"Definitely felt terrible about hitting Holliday in the face," he said. "I've never done that. Fastball just got away."

That's when skipper Andy Green removed Cashner, citing a favorable matchup for lefty reliever Brad Hand.

"Velo was there, slider was there, he pitched outstanding," Green said. "I think it was the right time to bring Brad Hand in the game to kind of clean that inning up, but I thought through 5 2/3 he was outstanding. Couldn't ask for any more."

Now all Cashner can do is wait. He doesn't know whether he'll be making his next start with the Padres -- currently slated for Tuesday in Toronto.

He didn't even know if he'd be making this start, after rumors popped up on Wednesday saying the Padres were attempting to make a deal before he took the mound.

The Padres have already dealt two starters -- Drew Pomeranz and James Shields. Cashner expects to be the third.

"Just by the way the season's gone, sure," Cashner said when asked if he thought he'd be traded before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline. "We've had two of our five already dealt, and I haven't heard anything from anybody. Especially after yesterday, I don't know."

Meanwhile, Green and the Padres have been transparent with Cashner about the very real possibility that he'll be moved within the next week.

"There is a possibility, and to dismiss it as not a possibility is disingenuous to him," Green said. "We talk openly with him, let him know.

"My hope for him is that he dominates for us as long as he's in a Padres uniform. And when he puts another uniform on, as long as he's not pitching against the Padres, my hope is he goes and dominates there."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.