Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – If the Braves weren’t sure that Tim Hudson was healed completely from August 2008 elbow surgery, they wouldn’t have signed the veteran to three-year, $28 million extension in November.
But if they wanted more evidence for comfort’s sake, they got some as team officials watched Hudson throw batting practice Saturday and again Sunday during the first two days of pitchers-and-catchers workouts at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
“Excellent,” manager Bobby Cox said. “Back-to-back days. He’s right there. Splitter, breaking ball, cutter, four-seamer, sinkers, everything. Right on the money.”
Hudson went 2-1 with a 3.61 ERA in seven late-season starts after returning from the disabled list following a 12-month recovery from ligament-transplant surgery. He is 56-39 with a 3.76 ERA in 128 games since being traded to the Braves in December 2004, after going 92-39 with a 3.30 ERA in 183 starts for Oakland.
After watching the 34-year-old work intently on Sunday, Cox said, “You can tell he’s been an ace before and will be again. Great movement, the split… I don’t want to talk too highly of him; it’s only the second day. But it’s really good to see.
“He’s worked hard this winter. He’s thrown a lot of bullpens in Atlanta with Roger [McDowell, pitching coach]. He’s right on target. No arm issues, no holding him back, nothing like that.”
When someone said that must be especially nice to see after the Braves made the three-year commitment to Hudson, Cox replied, “It’s a good guy to commit to. He’s in terrific shape, and his arm strength is strong.”