Someone once said a picture is worth a thousand words.
When he reached the dugout, that pretty much described the look of relief which swept across the face of Diamondbacks’ right-hander Daniel Hudson. Appearing in his first major league game in over two years, Hudson took the mound Wednesday night late in the Diamondbacks 6-1 victory over the San Diego Padres.
This was the spot manager Kirk Gibson said he would use Hudson. Throw him in a game in which the Diamondbacks were ahead or behind and in a situation where there existed little pressure.
Now back from the long and winding road of two Tommy John surgeries on his tender right elbow, Hudson accepted high-fives from his teammates but did not hide that huge sigh of relief.
Clearly, the native of Virginia Beach, Va. waited patiently for this day to arrive. After rehabbing, rehabbing and rehabbing some more, Hudson went through gradual steps of recovery and testing his arm. First, he spent time with the Diamondbacks’ rookie team in the Arizona Rookie League last month and took another stop with Triple-A Reno before donning Sedona Red once again.
With the Diamondbacks up by four runs in the eighth inning Wednesday night, Gibson inserted Hudson in a spot ideal to his recovery. Over the past few weeks, Gibson said he foresaw anywhere from four to six appearances for Hudson in September and activated the righty on Monday. By Wednesday night, Hudson was in a game and with a notable change.
To help save and protect his arm, Hudson threw more over-hand and less from a quasi side-arm and a pronounced sling to his delivery. Plus, Hudson said during his rehab period that he sought improvement from an important dimension of his game.
“My breaking ball is not where I want it to be,” he said in the middle of last month. “Yes, there’s a change and I am coming over the top more in my delivery. That’s encouraging.”
Against the Padres in his first game back on Wednesday, Hudson turned in a 1-2-3 frame and took just 13 pitches to set down the lineup. First, pinch-hitter Abraham Almonte grounded the short, lead-off hitter Yangerius Solarte flied to left and Alexi Amarista grounded to second.
Quick, easy and painless.
With just under four weeks remaining in the season, Hudson figures to get another look this weekend in Dodger Stadium. Going forward, the plan has Hudson throwing one inning in each appearance and that schedule would get him on target with those six appearances.
For now, Hudson, who started 53 games over the course of three seasons for Arizona, may not be ready to re-join the rotation. After all, that might force him into a 150 plus-inning season and, at this point and in the future, that would not likely be in the best interest of the pitcher, the Arizona medical staff or the organization.
Fro August, the Diamondbacks announced award winners.
Short Season-A Hillsboro outfielder Stewart Ijames was named position player-of the-month while Advanced-A Visalia pitcher Brandon Sinnery was the organization’s pitcher-of-the month.
For Ijames, he hit a combined .312 between Rookie Advanced Missoula and Hillsboro. That included three doubles, nine home runs and 28 RBIs. Ijames was signed as a free agent on July 19 of this year and previously played college baseball at the University of Louisville.
Sinnery went 5-1, 2.35 ERA in six starts for Visalia. Out of Orange, New Jersey, Sinnery was signed as a minor league free agent on February 17, 2013 and graduated from the University of Michigan.