WASHINGTON – When Tim Hudson entered the clubhouse Sunday morning, Braves backup catcher David Ross applauded, smiled and said, “He’s alive!”
Hudson was alive and well, but looked as if he hadn’t slept. For good reason.
The Braves pitcher left Friday’s win against Washington in the sixth inning after cramping from dehydration. He was taken to a local hospital and received five bags of fluids intraveneously.
Hudson didn’t return to the team hotel until after 3 a.m.
“It was pretty exhausting,” he said, then smiled. “Five bags of fluid. I [peed] all night. I didn’t sleep, all I’ve been doing is [peeing].”
Hudson was charged with three runs and nine hits in 5-2/3 innings and collected his 16th win. Four hits and two runs came in the sixth inning, when his hands were shaking and he had severe cramping beneath his right collarbone.
He’s had cramping issues from dehydration in the past, particularly in his first couple of seasons with the Braves after spending six years with Oakland to begin his career. A stricter game-day routine in recent seasons helped him control the situation.
Hudson, 36, said he neglected to follow the routine Friday because he thought there would be a long rain delay before the first pitch – the delay was only 14 minutes – and he had paid attention to the moderate temperature but not the high humidity.
“It was about 98 percent humidity after the rain, and it just got him,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said.
Hudson’s pregame routine usually includes a meal two hours before the game and, he said, intravenous fluids when conditions call for it. That’s most of the time, especially in Atlanta.
He didn’t have his meal early enough Saturday and the next thing he knew, he was told it was time to start getting ready because the game was going to start earlier than many had anticipated.
“I just didn’t prepare for the game like I should have, as far as hydrating,” he said. “I thought we were going to have a long delay…. Normally I get IVs before the game, but I looked at the weather and it was 72, and I said I don’t need ‘em.”
Manager Fredi Gonzalez, got a text at 3:15 a.m. notifiying him that Hudson had just left the hospital and was fine after getting fluids. He told the pitcher to sleep in, get some rest and arrive later than usual for Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. game.
When Hudson entered the clubhouse at about 11:15 a.m., his jersey hung conspicuously in front of his locker.
“What, did I die?” he said, laughing. “Is this like a memorial?”
Hudson will follow his usual between-starts timetable and is scheduled to start the regular-season finale Wednesday against Philadelphia. If the Braves clinch the wild-card berth before then, Tommy Hanson or another pitcher might make that start and Hudson could be held back for the division series.