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Right-hander has strained stomach muscle

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics placed right-hander
Tim Hudson on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a strained
left stomach muscle, an injury that isn't considered serious.

In fact, Hudson, Oakland's opening day starter the past two
seasons, said he could have pitched through it, but the team had to
make a move to clear a roster spot for new closer Octavio Dotel,
acquired Thursday from Houston in a three-team trade.

"It's not bad at all, a little mild strain," Hudson said
before the A's played the San Francisco Giants. "The only reason
I'm going on the DL is so we can get it right and take care of it
so it doesn't linger. Obviously, it's disappointing it came back
up. ... Probably the trade for Dotel -- they've got to make a
spot."

Hudson expects to miss two starts. This is his first stint on
the DL in five major league seasons. Trainer Larry Davis said
Hudson will undergo treatment until he is pain-free.

"[Davis] just feels in order to get it settled down for the
rest of the year, it's best to do it this way," manager Ken Macha
said. "We're on the very cautious side."

Hudson, who has had strained oblique muscles before and as
recently as last postseason, said he had a hard time early in his
start last Tuesday at Anaheim. After his bullpen session before the
game, Hudson cooled off and then was tight when he started warming
up again.

In that outing, Hudson (7-3) allowed five runs -- four earned --
and seven hits in five innings after entering with an AL-best 2.78
ERA. It was only the second time in his last nine starts that he
gave up more than two earned runs.

"I could probably pitch right now and not be 100 percent,"
Hudson said. "They'd rather have me 100 percent in two weeks than
80 percent the whole year. ... That's why I'm disappointed to go on
the DL. Usually guys on the DL are in dire straits."

Hudson, who turns 29 next month, was scheduled to pitch Sunday
against the Giants, but Mark Redman will go instead on three days'
rest.

Dotel joined his new teammates Saturday afternoon, receiving
hugs and high fives as he made his way to his new locker. He was
still carrying a large Astros duffel bag.

The 30-year-old right-hander acknowledged it was difficult
leaving Houston, where he had played five of his six major league
seasons.

"My first day I was talking about the trade, I was thinking
about it coming over here after five years with my team," he said.
"It's kind of sad. But I like these players over here."

Dotel is 0-4 with a 3.12 ERA and 14 saves in 17 chances in his
first year as a closer following Houston's offseason trade of
All-Star Billy Wagner to Philadelphia. The four losses have all
come at home, where Dotel has a 3.72 ERA. He has been tougher away
from hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park with a 2.35 ERA.

Dotel, a fastball pitcher with 50 strikeouts in 34 2-3 innings,
hadn't pitched since Monday -- so he was anxious to get in for
Saturday's game, which the A's said would probably happen even in a
non-save situation.

While he's quick to point out "I'm not a big TV guy," Dotel
has heard about Oakland's struggling bullpen.

He's happy to be with another playoff contender.

"From that point I'm happy -- to come from the Houston Astros
and they're in the pennant race, to the Oakland A's and they are
too," Dotel said.

Dotel would like to sign a long-term deal to stay with the A's,
and assistant general manager David Forst said Saturday the club is
interested in that but that there had been no discussions yet.
Dotel is arbitration eligible and the A's have rights to him
through the 2005 season.

Giants manager Felipe Alou altered his lineup after learning of
Hudson's status, since San Francisco will face a lefty instead
Sunday in Redman.