Setup man Andrew Cashner will start for Padres on Saturday

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San Diego’s rotation depth is so lacking that they replaced Jeff Suppan with Jason Marquis and now with Eric Stults headed to the disabled list with a strained lat muscle the Padres are turning to flame-throwing setup man Andrew Cashner to make Saturday’s start.

Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that Cashner will likely be limited to three innings, which makes sense considering he’s thrown more than 30 pitches in a game just once all season.

Cashner was a starter in the minors before the Cubs moved his high-90s fastball to the bullpen, but his control and off-speed stuff are both iffy enough that sticking in the rotation long term seems unlikely. He’s racked up 87 strikeouts in 91 career innings, but he’s also walked 50 and served up 12 homers while relying on his fastball-slider combination 90 percent of the time.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”