Gaudin, 26, signed a Minor League contract on April 12 after he was released by the Cubs at the conclusion of Spring Training. He made two starts with Portland, tossing 8 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out 10, giving up five hits and issuing two walks.
He takes the spot of Shawn Hill in this turn through the rotation -- and possibly much longer. Hill exited his Saturday start after two innings with right elbow soreness and underwent a plethora of tests on Monday, manager Bud Black said before the series opener at Colorado. Black said he would know more about Hill's status on Tuesday.
As for Gaudin, he's getting what he asked for when he signed with San Diego, a chance to start. Even though he rose through the Minors as a rotation guy and made 34 starts for Oakland in 2007, he found himself in the bullpen for most of '08. He was traded to the Cubs as part of the Rich Harden deal and spent the entire second half in relief.
Gaudin is taking this stint with his fifth Major League team with a start-to-start mindset.
"They haven't said anything about anything long term," he said. "All I know is I'm starting tomorrow. Go out there and get a win."
Gaudin has a career record of 28-25 with a 4.45 ERA and 326 strikeouts in 185 games (50 starts) in six big league seasons with Tampa Bay (2003-2004), Toronto ('05), Oakland ('06-'08) and the Cubs ('08).
Gaudin was originally signed by Tampa Bay as a 34th-round selection in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft.
De La Cruz likely doomed himself with a five-walk performance in two innings on Saturday against Pittsburgh. The 25-year-old only made three appearances this season, compiling a 5.40 ERA in 3 1/3 innings.
"It was a decision we had to make, to designate him, based a little bit on his performance, even though his usage was infrequent, which was unfortunate," Black said. "But decisions are tough. You've got to choose someone."
The Padres have 10 days to trade or release De La Cruz, who is out of options and would have to approve a Minor League assignment.