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07/02/09 9:16 PM ET

Gaudin pumped for packed PETCO

San Diego (34-44) vs. Los Angeles (50-29), 7:05 p.m. PT

SAN DIEGO -- The anticipation of pitching in a soldout PETCO Park on Friday held some interest to Padres pitcher Chad Gaudin on Thursday, though the same couldn't be said for who he'll be pitching against.

Gaudin gets the start against the Los Angeles Dodgers and outfielder Manny Ramirez, in his first game back following a 50-game suspension.

To be clear, Gaudin is excited about pitching in a packed stadium, though he's not putting any more stock in facing Ramirez than any of the other hitters in the Dodgers' lineup.

"It's going to be great to have a heightened crowd with a lot of fans. It's a great atmosphere to pitch in," Gaudin said. "[Ramirez] is a good hitter. It's like getting another guy out. All I do is try to get him out. It's no different.

"I don't have to go out there and pitch him different because he hasn't played. He's played for the last week. He's been working out. He wasn't hurt. He can still play."

Ramirez is 5-for-11 lifetime against Gaudin with two home runs.

Ramirez is hitting .227 with one home run this season against the Padres. He tortured them a year ago when he hit five home runs and drove in 14 runs against them in nine games.

As for Gaudin, he won't change anything about the way he's been pitching lately just because of Ramirez. The Padres likely wouldn't stand for that, given his success in his past two starts where he's allowed two runs in 15 innings with 20 strikeouts in posting two victories.

In his last start against Texas, Gaudin allowed on hit in eight scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in a game the Padres won, 2-0.

"Boy, that was just a great game," Padres manager Bud Black said. "What a performance. I've seen a lot of games in this park from this dugout and that was one of the best pitched games I've seen."

Pitching matchup
SD: RHP Chad Gaudin (4-6, 4.97 ERA)
Gaudin was brilliant on Sunday against the Rangers, allowing one hit over eight shutout innings. He needed only 101 pitches to get through his outing and retired the side five times. In eight games -- four starts -- spanning 26 2/3 innings at PETCO Park, Gaudin has posted a 2-2 record with a 3.38 ERA. Against the Dodgers in his career, Gaudin is 0-1 with a 9.45 ERA over 6 2/3 innings.

LAD: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (2-4, 3.77 ERA)
In his previous start, Kuroda struggled early against the Mariners, allowing four runs in the first three innings, but he settled down after that. The right-hander's control wasn't the issue, as he allowed no walks and struck out five, but Kuroda was simply roughed up for eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Kuroda is 3-1 with a 4.78 ERA in five career starts against the Padres.

Padres relief pitcher pitcher Luke Gregerson -- on the disabled list since June 8 with a strained right shoulder -- threw a side session before Thursday's game and gave Black a thumbs up as he headed into the clubhouse. Black said there's a chance Gregerson might not need a stint in the Minor Leagues before returning. "He's getting close to pitching," Black said. ... Pitcher Cha Seung Baek, on the disabled list since March 30 with a strained right forearm, will throw a simulated game before Friday's game against the Dodgers. Black said that, depending on how the simulated game goes, there will be a determination if Baek can begin a Minor League rehab assignment.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• 4 San Diego

On radio
• XPRS 1090, XEMO 860 (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Padres (Josh Geer, 1-3, 5.68) vs. Dodgers (Randy Wolf, 3-3, 3.61), 1:10 p.m. PT
• Sunday: Padres (Josh Banks, 1-0, 3.38) vs. Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 9-4, 3.12), 1:05 p.m. PT
• Monday: Padres (Walter Silva, 0-2, 8.86) at D-backs (Jon Garland, 4-8, 4.81), 6:40 p.m. PT

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.