To be 37 years old, 15 months removed from major back surgery and a few years after reconstructive elbow surgery, and to throw 79 pitches on March 4 without any worries, says much about the enduring ability of Tim Hudson and his current physical state.
He wasn’t too pleased with the results: four innings, six hits, two runs, one walk and two strikeouts. But Hudson, who missed the first month of the 2012 season while recovering from lumbar-fusion surgery, was encouraged again by how well he felt after throwing 46 strikes in 79 pitches in his third start of spring training in a 4-2 win against the New York Mets.
“It was good work for me,” he said. “I wasn’t worth a crap today, but I was able to have big-situation pitches pretty much every inning, and it helped having the kid (catcher Christian Bethancourt) throw out a couple of runners. I was able to work out of most of them, make a decent pitch here and there. It was a great work day. Obviously I’m not going to be happy with it at all if this is June. But that’s what spring training is for.”
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would’ve replaced Hudson either way after facing Ruben Tejada, who grounded out to end the fourth inning.
“There’s always a limit with the pitches,” Gonzalez said. “But he feels great. He went out there and gave us four innings, and he battles. Now he’ll go on to his next start and we’ll keep building him up.”