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Whispers: Hudson off to bad starts in starts

Aaron Harang's 4-0 start with the Padres follows work with pitching coach Darren Balsley in spring training, helping him regain the delivery he had when he was rolling for the Reds. The confidence is coming. … While Jered Weaver and Dan Haren have the Angels off to a terrific start, Scott Kazmir has been home in Texas, working with a pitching instructor he has known since high school. The work of 21-year-old Tyler Chatwood and Matt Palmer make it questionable whether the Angels will put Kazmir back in the rotation when they activate him after a seemingly minor back injury. … Jed Lowrie is hitting so well the Red Sox have to consider him as a threat to take over at shortstop for Marco Scutaro. They're disappointed in Jarrod Saltalamacchia's start, which could have them once again pursuing trades for a catcher such as Ryan Doumit, Chris Snyder, Kelly Shoppach or Ivan Rodriguez. They're excited about prospect Tim Federowicz, who entered the weekend hitting .341 in Double A, but don't want to rush him. … Look out for the Rockies. They went 13-5 out of the gate despite minimal contributions from Ubaldo Jimenez and Carlos Gonzalez.Major League Baseball continues to explore a one-game, loser-go-home wild-card playoff if the format expands to 10 teams in 2012, as is expected. TV is pushing for it, but general managers prefer a best-of-three, guaranteeing each team at least one home playoff game. … An unproductive bench has played a role in the Braves' slow start. Their pinch hitters had gone 0-for-25 before Brooks Conrad singled Tuesday. … Colby Lewis suffering from diminished returns after working a career-high 227 innings a year ago for the Rangers. … The Brewers hope Zack Greinke needs only two more rehab starts before joining the rotation May 4. … The Mariners are bracing to draw below 2 million for the first time at Safeco Field.

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