One bad ending doesn’t change wonder of Hudson’s comeback

Tim Hudson allowed Milwaukee only a run on four hits through six innings but wilted in the seventh. (AP photo)

Tim Hudson allowed Milwaukee only a run on four hits until tiring in the seventh.

When Dr. Frank Jobe performed the first “Tommy John” surgery on, ironically enough, Tommy John, he told the pitcher that his chances for full a recovery were something like 1 in 100.

It was like “Dumb and Dumber” meets baseball. “So you’re saying I’ve got a chance …”

When Tim Hudson stepped on the mound Saturday night, the only question was whether John eventually would have to start sharing title honors for the reconstructive elbow surgery. Hudson led the Braves in the first half of the season in wins, earned run average for starters, innings and opponents’ batting average. He was the only pitcher in the All-Star game with such a fresh scar on his elbow.

“I feel like I did when I was 25,” Hudson, 35, said the other day. “I never dreamed I’d have an All-Star first half.”

He also had an All-Star first six innings against Milwaukee on Saturday. He took a 2-1 lead into the seventh, having allowed only four hits. Then he lost some control, and Peter Moylan dropped plutonium on his pitching line. Hudson allowed a home run to Prince Fielder that tied the score, and a single and three walks to give the Brewers a lead. In came Moylan, who allowed a three-run double to Corey Hart. Just like that, Hudson had statistically his worst outing of the season: six runs.

The Braves lost 6-3. They have lost two consecutive at Turner Field for the first time since April 21-22.

Season Feel Good takes a break?

Fear not. There’s no reason to think this will be the start of some downward trend. Not for the Braves. Certainly not for Hudson.

Hudson can only watch from the dugout as Peter Moylan allowed a three-run double in relief and the Braves lost to Milwaukee 6-3.

Hudson can only watch from the dugout as reliever Peter Moylan allowed a three-run double and the Braves lost to Milwaukee 6-3.

I’m starting to think he didn’t get a new tendon in his elbow — he got robotics. Maybe pitchers should just start their careers with Tommy John surgery.

Those 1-in-100 odds have improved to about 90-in-100. Braves catcher Brian McCann said of Hudson, “His sinker’s sinking harder. His cutter is cutting harder. Everything has that extra gear to it.”

If the Braves make it back to the postseason this year, is there any question who gets the ball in Game 1? Hudson was acquired from Oakland in 2005 to be the staff ace. It took a little longer than expected, but he’s there.

Had he recorded one more out Saturday, that would’ve made eight consecutive starts in which he lasted at least seven innings. That’s kind of ridiculous. He said he didn’t tire, but lost a little control, and he couldn’t get the Brewers to chase anything just outside of the strike zone.

“I pretty much handed it to them on a platter,” he said.

Hudson’s standard is pretty high. Funny, because a year ago at this time he couldn’t be certain if he had a future with the Braves (or anyone). The rehab from the surgery in August 2008 was “long and tedious,” he said. “But I was determined to come back. I was 34. I didn’t want my career to end like that.”

He didn’t do much research on the procedure, but knew there were options. The ligament in his right elbow could be replaced by a tendon in his wrist or a shaved portion of his hamstring. He also knew they used to use cadavers. Imagine what Cy Young’s tendons could go for?

“I don’t know – they might be a little dusty,” he said. “But maybe Nolan Ryan’s. When he kicks over, that might be a pretty cool eBay item.”

Hudson opted for his left hamstring. His wife, Kim, had offered to donate a tendon from her wrist.

“I was like, ‘No, I don’t want to come back throwing 82 [mph]. No offense, babe,’” he said.

By last September, he felt ready to test the elbow. His seven starts that followed convinced the Braves to give him a three-year contract extension. They don’t regret it. His ERA still is only 2.60 after Saturday.

Of the rehab, he said: “You either realize how much you love it or you realize how much you can live without it. I wasn’t ready to retire.”

He deserved a better fate Saturday. But he and the hamstring in his elbow will be fine.


Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

Earlier posts

We’re LIVE, as Hudson and his miracle elbow start for Braves

There goes another: Miller signs with Houston over Hawks

Listen up, Ole Miss: I’ve got Colonel Reb’s replacement

45 comments Add your comment

Herschel Talker

July 17th, 2010
11:21 pm

Hudson rocks. Kenshin, on the other hand, should be nowhere near a mound ever again. He better not be on the playoff roster.

Reid Adair

July 17th, 2010
11:25 pm

I agree 100 percent, Jeff. Truth be told, given what Tim Hudson has been through, the Braves would probably be happy with about half of the success he’s seen so far.

As of now, I definitely think Hudson would be the Game 1 starter for the playoffs.

scottbravesfan

July 17th, 2010
11:46 pm

Tim is the man. Both Hudson and Jair have been gassing in games lately and I don’t blame them. Jurrjens couldn’t work on cardio when his hamstring was hurt and Hudson is still pitching in his first full season back it’s going to take time to get used to the heat again in Atlanta. Our bullpen should be there to help them out, and they usually do, just not tonight. We’ll get them tomorrow.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Roy Harris, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: One bad ending doesn’t change wonder of Hudson’s comeback http://bit.ly/ax8hRs [...]

extremus

July 18th, 2010
12:26 am

I’m confident Hudson will be back to form really quick, but at this point I’m concerned about Hanson’s recent lack of consistency. Whether he’s simply hitting a rough patch early in his career that he’ll grow out of or whether MLB hitters have figured him out is up in the air pending a few more starts, but right now he may be the rotation’s fifth-best pitcher. As for Kawakami, nothing more needs to be said except that the Braves need to sever ties and cut their losses to free his roster spot for somebody who won’t be a liability.

Prado had a couple of hits tonight, but he certainly hasn’t been the igniter over the past few games, which I believe is a big part of why the Braves have lost three of four. Heyward is still finding his swing but showed promise tonight off the bench. The Braves are getting people on base, but the past few games have been shades of April in driving them in; hopefully that funk will end VERY soon.

Lastly, if McLouth gets healthy, what will the Braves do? They obviously can’t carry five outfielders, so who will be sent down?

The Grinch

July 18th, 2010
12:29 am

Who would have thought going into this season that Hudson would be the clear ace, JJ would miss half the season after looking like his shoulder was blown out in Spring and then come back looking just like he did last year simply by resting, and Medlen would be our third best starter? That’s why they play the game, folks.

This Milwaukee series is an aberration. We’ll pick right back up where we left off shortly.

Chop Chop

July 18th, 2010
12:34 am

Hudson’s due for a downturn. No surprise there. The problem for the rotation is that Lowe is older and Hanson and Medlen should wear down. The bullpen has been great so far, but it hasn’t been leaned on as much as it will be in the second half. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

The Grinch

July 18th, 2010
12:35 am

I believe Hanson’s problem is mental. He’s pulling a Charlie Morton on us; all the stuff in the world but timid to use it and trying to pitch surgically instead of letting it fly. Plus when it doesn’t work he lets it get to him. Unlike Morton, I think he’ll learn from it and develop into a solid top of the rotation starter. At least a 2.

Extremus, McLouth can’t even carry Blanco’s jock, and Blanco’s not that great. Nate’s out of options; I think he’ll be advised that his head still hurts and be put on the 60 day DL. No way he needs to take up a roster spot, even KK’s.

Brian H.

July 18th, 2010
12:41 am

DO NOT…I repeat…DO NOT let Cory Hart leave Atlanta with the Brewers. Trade for him and do it now. Send the Brewers our sloppy seconds (Kawakami and McLouth) and throw in Cabrera. I know we might have to add one or two more pieces. That is fine. Hart has proven his worth this weekend.

On a side note, did anybody see how winded Fielder was after he trotted around the bases after his home run? Dude, it might be time to work some cardio into your workout. WoW!!! More treadmill and less cheeseburgers…For real!!!

Sherwin-Williams

July 18th, 2010
12:41 am

Jeff what a letdown. You explained why he didn’t want his wife’s tendon, but you didn’t explain why he didn’t want a cadaver.

Hockey reference

July 18th, 2010
12:46 am

I don’t think you could even get Sean Avery’s sloppy thirds for the Braves sloppy seconds. I don’t even think you could get the rights to Steve Avery for the Braves sloppy seconds.

Coach (2011 or Bust)

July 18th, 2010
1:12 am

Grinch asked, who would have thought Tim Hudson would be the Braves ace?

Um, that would be me and I said it repeatedly before, during spring training and after the season started.

As for this last start, it’s another classic move by Bobby Cox. He’s THE players manager. If Huddy would have gotten out of the seventh, the pitcher gets all the credit. It didn’t happen and the manager takes the heat for not pulling his pitcher quick enough.

But yes, Tim Hudson has always been an ACE type of pitcher. His .657 winning percentage is just ridiculous and the man has never had a losing record. Huddy’s a winner and he’s gonna keep on doing the same.

The Grinch

July 18th, 2010
1:19 am

I have nothing against sloppy seconds myself, but I bet the Brewers’ GM does. It’ll take some pieces. But he’s shown he can hit it out in the Ted so it might be worth it. Move Heyward to center and put Hart in right. I’m game for that. We’ve got plenty of trade pieces.

Bill

July 18th, 2010
7:21 am

The fall of the Braves hasbegun..The piddling Brewers ahve beaten Hanson and Hudson back to back.Glaus is back ot his April ways and the team as a whole is not hitting.

Ralph

July 18th, 2010
7:51 am

MEMO TO WREN; Your not going to win many games with 3 runs, you tried that in April and it didn’t work. GET SOME BATS, I want to go to the post season.

Bob Horners Broken Wrist

July 18th, 2010
7:58 am

How long has Bobby been coaching?? What kind of moron lets their ace go into the 7th inning, having given up one run on 4 hits and lets the game get out of hand before bringing in relief. Bobby, this isn’t a video game, its MLB baseball and you take your starting pitcher out in the seventh when the tying or go ahead run gets on base in a pitchers duel. Thats the question that needs to be asked, why did he let the game get away? That was just plain bush and is the kind of thing that will put a team into a tailspin. Three games after the all star break you can’t say the bullpen needed rest especially after using Medlen and KK the previous night. Dumb, Bobby, just dumb, you should know better and you are wasting a great opportunity to pull away from the Mets and Phillies.

Navigator

July 18th, 2010
8:09 am

Actually what we are seeing is the ineptitude of Bobby Cox, not knowing when to remove a pitcher. He never learned what Billy Martin said a long time ago, that wins in July count just as much as wins in September (amongst other things). Hudson started to lose it in the previous inning and nobody was warning up, then Cox let’s him not only walk the bases loaded, but then walk in a run before lumbering toward the mound. It’s sad to see what skills this man has lost, even from a few years ago when many fans wanted him to retire. He should have retired as manager on his own, years ago, but he has no skills other than what he learned in baseball, or he would have been gone.

Bob Horners Broken Wrist

July 18th, 2010
8:11 am

I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again today…package Hanson with some salary deadweight like KK and get a gamechanging hitter that we can sign long term with Larry Wayne Von Strains money when he hopefully retires at the end of the year. Hanson is expendable and gives us a real marketable asset to bring back the hitter we need AND prospects….everybody knows you get more for good young CHEAP pitching. I don’t want to lose Hanson but with the arms we have in the minors we don’t have to keep him and he can land us a Texeira like deal…..except titled our way this time.

mountain_jim

July 18th, 2010
8:52 am

I usually support Bobby but it was clear to me as well he left Huddy in too long.

Ralph

July 18th, 2010
8:59 am

Hudson always has his bad inning in the 7th as stats will show, a good manager would have been aware of that and been prepared for it, I have said it for years, Bobby is senile and we cannot win with him at the helm.

nobody

July 18th, 2010
9:17 am

Its looking like the braves offense is starting off slow again. I wish we could trade one of our outfielders(probably Melky) and a pitcher somewhere and get one of those bats, Willingham, Dejesus, I no longer think Hart is available.

nobody

July 18th, 2010
9:18 am

I will never understand why we keep pitching pitchers that arent doing well. I know they will come around and you hope its the night u play them but Kenshin and Moylan are really hurting this team.

TommyJack

July 18th, 2010
9:34 am

nobody: Moylan is hurting this team? Put the pipe down, pal.

nobody

July 18th, 2010
9:35 am

Can anybody tell me Heywards stats since moving to the 2 spot. Just curious.

jesse james

July 18th, 2010
10:05 am

Poor old Bobby Cox. He can never do anything right. I agree sometimes we leave pitchers in too long, but with veterans like Hudson you go with him longer. When you start pulling starters in the 5th and 6th inning that is when your pen starts to suffer. Over 162 games that does make a difference. If our offense doesn’t get better pitching doesn’t matter.

Bob Horners Broken Wrist

July 18th, 2010
10:21 am

Jesse, there is a difference in pulling them in the 5th and 6th and pulling them in the seventh when the just walked the go ahead run onto first. In that instance you IMMEDIATELY pull the pitcher in favor of someone that has sinker ball stuff to induce a double play. In the 7th Saito or Moylan would have been your choice. Even KK would have been better than leaving Hudson in AT THAT POINT. Bobby was not prepared though and had nobody warming up until it was too late, inexcuseable. The problem with Cox’s move is, even though he is showing confidence in Hudson, he leaves him without a net and Hudson begins trying to hard to hit spots which made walks more likely. To their credit the Brewers laid off the pitches and allowed Hudson to work himself into greater trouble. The more I think about it, the more inept Cox’s decision was….he literally lost the game for the Braves by his poor management.

Bob Horners Broken Wrist

July 18th, 2010
10:29 am

BTW you jabrones who think we can trade KK and Melky for a quality bat are high. The only position players of worth to anyone are Prado, Heyward and McCann. They aren’t going anywhere. The Braves ONLY bargaining chip is pitching, the arms in the minors…Tehran, Vizcaino and Minor and our other young guys Medlen and Hanson. Thats it, forget the fantasy of getting Corey Hart for KK and a bag of balls….you’re wasting everyones time with that stupidity. We may be able to unload Lowe or KK at the deadline in a salary purge move but will get absolutely nothing of value for them because the team taking them will be doing us a favor to take their bloated salaries off our hands. Do you hear, we will get NOTHING for them, a mid range prospect or another underperforming salary hog from their team, at best.

BravesFan

July 18th, 2010
11:46 am

Hudson should’ve used one of Kenshin’s tendons. Then they’d actually be good for something.

jesse james

July 18th, 2010
12:04 pm

Bob Horner’s Broken Wrist – The 3-2 pitche just missed when he walked the bases loaded. Pitching decisions and Bobby Cox didn’t lose this game. Our offense did.

Adam Fromal

July 18th, 2010
12:24 pm

Jeff, I’m not sure if you’ll take a look at this, but here’s an analysis of Hudson that’s not quite so favorable. He’s been getting a little lucky so far. Take a look:http://bleacherreport.com/articles/421658-the-impending-tim-hudson-implosion-an-example-of-luck-in-baseball

Ole Miss Interesting Fact

July 18th, 2010
12:30 pm

Just a follow up on the Ole Miss column that you ran the other day.

If you go to secsportsfan.com you can read a probably little known fact that up until 1935 when Ole Miss joined the SEC, they were called the Ole Miss Flood, not the Ole Miss Rebels. Honest.

They were probably in some way reflecive of the Alabama Tide.

Also, up until the US Corps of Engineers began working on the Mississippi River to control it in the 1930’s, floods were common in Mississippi as well as other states along the Mississippi river.

Perhaps the University of Mississippi could change the name of their teams back to The Flood and have a Surfer Dude or Oarsman or something as their mascot. I kinda like the name of The Flood.

Mr Charlie

July 18th, 2010
12:45 pm

OH no, they lost again! We might go 0-79 the rest of the season. JJ sux, KK sux, Hanson, Hewyard, Melkey, they all suck. Our starters can’t go more than 6, our bullpen can’t hold a lead, when our closer grooves one, it is gone. And the worst part is, if am wrong and we do get to the playsoffs, Bobby Cox it going to blow it. OOOOOWWWWWW NOOOOOOOOOO!

Mr Charlie

July 18th, 2010
12:47 pm

Chipper and Glaus is washed up, Prado only go two hits last night, but he is not doing a good job at leadoff. We are DOOOOOOOMMMMMEEEDDDD

Mr Charlie

July 18th, 2010
12:48 pm

Bobby can’t manage a game, Wren can’t pick players, and TP can’t teach how to hit. We are so screwed I tell ya.

Techman

July 18th, 2010
1:11 pm

I’m typically a Cox basher but I don’t think last night was his fault. braves lose 2 in a row. No big deal. We still have the same lead we had on the Phillies going into the break and have gained a game on the mets.

I don’t want Hart until he shaves that horrible beard.

jesse james

July 18th, 2010
2:56 pm

Mr. Charlie – You are the reason we have no child left behind!

KimZ'sPackage

July 18th, 2010
3:51 pm

Jesse we tried to leave lil chucky behing but he just kept finding his way home. Damn I am sorry I ever got him Finger printed. Those cops can bring him back to me but they can’t shut down the crack house down the block. Now go figure that.

AWJ

July 18th, 2010
5:49 pm

Braves are fine. I think Nate comes back and starts to produce. I read somewhere that the scouts looking at him in his rehab say he is swinging better that he has as a Brave. If McLouth is again a regular, then that leaves a Melky/Diaz platoon in LF. Then Hinske can get more time at 1B to let Glaus rest some. That leaves Infante/Conrad as infield back-ups. Braves are fine.

Pitching will be SOLID. We have an incredible bullpen and a starting 5 that is as good as anybody. Lowe is pitching better (today) JJ is back. All 5 starters are not going to pitch shutouts every night. If we can get quality starts (6+ innings, 3 or less R) 7 out of 10, then we will roll….No need to trade a good prospect for another OF. If we can get something without giving up a good prospect than fine, do it…

Where would we be now if we had Wainright and Andrus….

rfgh

July 18th, 2010
6:56 pm

Largest division lead in all of baseball and the “experts” on this blog see nothing doom! I admit I was on Wren’s case too in April, but dang, some of you guys are just insane with your expectations.

ben

July 19th, 2010
12:03 am

Just wanted to let you know Escobar made 2 great plays in his 1st game with the Blue Jays. He has continued his hit parade…including 5 RBI and his 1st career game slam today. The guy is hitting over .400 and has an OPS over .1100.

Frank Wren is a freaking douche and should be fired. Another way to look at it: Who in their right mind would trade away a younger, more beautiful wife for a older, less attractive wife (Escobar vs. Gonzalez)?

http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=300718101

Justin

July 19th, 2010
10:56 am

I blame bobby for that loss– he should’ve pulled Hudson after the leadoff HR followed by a walk.. had he brought in Moylan then, or anyone else aside from KK or Chavez, the damage would’ve been FAR less.

ben hur

July 19th, 2010
11:41 am

“Frank Wren is a freaking douche and should be fired. Another way to look at it: Who in their right mind would trade away a younger, more beautiful wife for a older, less attractive wife (Escobar vs. Gonzalez)?”

Bet Mel Gibson would right about now.

bvillebaron

July 19th, 2010
12:00 pm

ben hur:

When Wren took over in 2008, the Braves were a sub .500 team. Currently, they are in first place. What else do you want?

keith

July 19th, 2010
2:28 pm

Greetings, Jeff. Need that cup of coffee again, today? :)

Yes, Huddy will bounce back as this was his worst start all year and he cant win every game…neither will the Braves. SHOCKER!

Big question is, will Wren make another move? I think if Heyward bounces back (still waiting on that) to his old form and Mclouth produces even a little bit of what he’s doing in the minors, then I think we will stand with our cards.

I am concerned a bit of Hanson’s struggles of late….the sophomore slump definitely is not just folklore of baseball…batters start to figure you out a bit after a while. If he makes the adjustments…that will tell his fate.

I’m rambling a bit, but a decent starting rotation for the playoffs….

Hudson
Jurjens
Hanson
Lowe
Medlen

You might even put Lowe ahead of Hanson at this point due to Lowe’s previous success in postseason play.

Your thoughts?

keith

July 19th, 2010
2:29 pm

Or you could even do a 3-man rotation in the Division Series….

Huddy
JJ
Lowe

Not too bad….maybe Hanson if he improves from recent struggles….