Tim Hudson will skip his scheduled Sunday start against the Blue Jays with bone spurs in his left ankle, and the Braves have called up top prospect Julio Teheran from Triple-A Gwinnett to make a spot start in his place.
Hudson had a similar problem last season and didn’t miss a start. He got a cortisone shot Friday, and if his ankle continues to improve he aims to pitch again Wednesday against the Yankees.
“Last year it was sore one time that I pitched, we put the cortisone in it and it was fine for the next start,” said Hudson, who said the ankle started bothering him after his May 30 start against St. Louis. “I’m hoping that’s what this is going to be. If it keeps improving the way it went from yesterday to today this won’t be a problem.”
It’s amazing that it wasn’t a problem Tuesday night in Miami when Hudson pitched a complete-game shutout against the Marlins, allowing only five hits in an 11-0 win with his landing leg really bothering him.
“When I told y’all it was smoke and mirrors, I wasn’t kidding,” Hudson said. “I couldn’t believe it. I told Livo (Hernandez) coming out of the bullpen, he might want to start stretching his legs out. ‘I don’t know how good this is going to go.’ Nine innings later I’m shaking his hand. Some of that bad luck I had the first couple starts paid me back a little bit.”
Hudson looked gimpy running to first on his ninth inning single that night, and in days following that start “it was brutal.” When he tried to throw a bullpen on Friday, he realized Sunday’s start was out.
With Hudson, 36, already coming off spinal fusion surgery this winter the Braves didn’t want to take chances.
“(Pitching coach) Roger (McDowell) saw him throw a bullpen yesterday and he was trying to favor it,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Saturday. “He just had back surgery, and he had arm problems, and you start tinkering with your delivery. We don’t want to mess with it.”
If Hudson is able to go Wednesday the Braves can bump Brandon Beachy back to start Friday against the Orioles. The Braves are off on Thursday.
They’ve made it clear to Teheran they need just one start from him before he returns to Gwinnett, and they’ll call up a reliever. The Braves prefer to bring him up for one start and keep Jair Jurrjens (3-3, 5.26 ERA) in Gwinnett working on his consistency.
Gonzalez said the Braves thought about having Hernandez, a long reliever, make a spot start but he didn’t want to throw the bullpen off.
Teheran had a chance to win the fifth starter’s job coming out of spring training while Hudson was on the DL, but he was beat out by Randall Delgado. Teheran is 5-2 with a 3.15 ERA in 11 starts for Gwinnett. He is coming off his best start of the season, a complete game seven-hitter against Charlotte on Sunday, when he gave up only one run, no walks and struck out six.
“Teheran has pitched well to earn that,” Gonzalez said. “It’ll be good for him and good for us to see him up here pitching.”
Teheran went 1-1 with a 5.03 ERA in five games (three starts) for the Braves last year in his first taste of the majors.