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HomeSportsBaseballMLB News: Padres' Dylan Cease set for fresh start vs. Giants

MLB News: Padres’ Dylan Cease set for fresh start vs. Giants

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Dylan Cease is ready to make his first San Diego Padres start.

And San Diego is ready to see what the hard-throwing right-hander can add to a rotation that could use one more veteran arm if it’s to become the playoff team it thinks it is.

Cease, 28, will take the mound Saturday when the Padres look for their second win of a four-game weekend set against the San Francisco Giants in San Diego.

Acquired on March 13 from the rebuilding Chicago White Sox in a trade for three of the Padre organization’s top 10 prospects, as well as useful setup reliever Steven Wilson, Cease is aiming to rebound from a subpar 2023.

He went 7-9 with a 4.58 ERA, one year after finishing second in Cy Young Award voting in the American League. But San Diego’s front office is counting on him to rebound in a pitcher-friendly ballpark with a better club behind him.

And there wasn’t much wrong with Cease’s stuff at times last year. He struck out 214 in 177 innings but was sometimes undone by poor defense. His fielding independent pitching (FIP) was 3.72, which can indicate bad luck or below-average glovework.

Cease worked four innings in his final exhibition start Monday night against Seattle and wasn’t happy with his execution after he gave up three runs on five hits and two walks.

“It was solid for a spring game,” he said. “If it was a regular-season game, I wouldn’t be thrilled. Fortunately, it wasn’t.”

Cease has pitched well in two prior starts against San Francisco, going 2-0 with a 1.80 earned run average and striking out 12 over 10 innings.

His mound opponent on Saturday also will be in a new uniform — and a new/old role of sorts. Right-hander Jordan Hicks won the Giants’ No. 3 starting job and could provide them with another power arm if he can solve his career-long dilemma of consistently throwing quality strikes.

A reliever for most of his career with St. Louis and Toronto, Hicks signed a four-year, $44 million contract in the offseason and said he viewed himself as a starter. San Francisco gave him that chance in the spring, and he struck out 28 hitters over 17 innings with a 2.65 ERA.

In his final spring start, Hicks struck out 10 over five shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics.

“I think we’re all excited to see him,” Giants manager Bob Melvin said. “The way that he was built up and the success he had in his last outing, I think implanted a lot of confidence going out there.”

Hicks has pitched just four times in his career against the Padres, working 4 2/3 hitless innings and striking out eight while walking just one. But there is one worry he might not be able to do anything about — a rainy forecast that could delay his first start in nearly two full years.

“We have a good game plan for tomorrow. Hopefully, the weather is fine,” he said. “Let mother nature do its thing and then figure out the rest later. But I’m locked in.”

–Field Level Media

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