By Rob Moseley
Now, Paddon will have his chance. With freshman left-hander Matt Krook out at least this a week due to injury, Paddon will start Sunday’s series finale for the Ducks against UC Riverside, which visits PK Park for three games beginning Friday at 6 p.m.
Though it’s a nonconference series, UO coach George Horton will treat it like Pac-12 play. Tommy Thorpe will pitch Friday, and Gold will move into Krook’s slot for Saturday’s 2 p.m. start. Then, Paddon will pitch Sunday at noon, an opportunity he eagerly awaits.
“It’s not every day you hear that as a freshman – unless you’re a first-round draft pick,” Paddon said, alluding to Krook. “It’s exciting.”
A 6-foot-2, 235-pound native of Yorba Linda, Calif., Paddon is 0-2 with a 2.78 ERA in 11 relief appearances this spring. Despite battling command issues with his off-speed stuff, Paddon has 18 strikeouts and just four walks in 22 2/3 innings.
“What he does have is command of his fastball, and it’s an electric fastball,” Horton said. “Sometimes you can put too much into secondary pitches.”
That said, Paddon has been working with assistant Dean Stiles to improve his breaking ball and changeup. He’s seen improvements, “subtly,” Horton said.
Paddon’s longest outing of the season was in relief of Krook at Washington on Saturday, a four-inning stint in which he allowed one run on one hit. Paddon said he wore down after about 60 pitches.
But, he said, “the farther into the game I went, the better my off-speed was. Hopefully I can either figure it out in the bullpen (prior to Sunday’s start) or have that same kind of accumulating effect.”
Krook, who led the Pac-12 in strikeouts entering last weekend, was scheduled for an MRI on Friday to determine the extent of his injury.
His absence and the promotion of Paddon to the rotation will tax a bullpen coming off a few tough appearances during the 10-game road trip that ended Sunday at Washington. That will be exacerbated by the fact Oregon hosts San Diego on Monday, a fourth game in four days.
Brando Tessar will start Monday, after seven shutout innings at Portland on Wednesday. Horton said he won’t bring any of his other arms back on short rest during the weekend, which could open up opportunities for seldom used relievers like Cooper Stiles, Derek Smith or Jack Karraker.
“It’ll provide guys that need to establish a little more confidence some opportunity,” Horton said.