Hudson Injury Is Hard To Take

Tim Hudson's gruesome injury was hard to watch. (USA Today Sports)

Tim Hudson's gruesome injury was hard to watch. (USA Today Sports)

I’d just been talking to Tim Hudson.

He’d reflected calmly on Monday afternoon, standing in his underwear in front of his locker at Citi Field. (I asked if he wanted to get dressed, but Hudson never made a fuss about anything, waving me off and saying “Nah, I’m trying to cool off!”) And he talked to me about his teammate, Brian McCann.

Earlier this year, we’d chatted about Mike Minor. This wasn’t a coincidence. It didn’t really matter what the subject is, Hudson is insightful and generous with his time. But it had surprised me, when I researched the McCann piece, and had wrongly assumed that McCann was the longest-tenured Brave. It is actually Hudson.

So to see Hudson injured the way he was on Wednesday night, a collision at first base that fractured Hudson’s right ankle … well, it was hard for anyone to watch. And it was harder, thinking about Hudson’s excitement just days before, as he pondered his ninth season in Atlanta, and whether his chance to win a World Series had come at last.

“I think anybody would say that it’s a lot more special to win at a place [where] you felt like you had a part in building something,” Hudson had said on Monday. “You know, we’ve both been here for nine years, we’ve both been through some goods and some bads, and it would be very special. Obviously, he and I … I saw him when he first came up. And he caught me when I first came over to Atlanta, so it was new to both of us.”

But while McCann was a rookie during that 2005 season, Hudson had already accomplished a great deal, putting up an ERA+ of 136 over six seasons with the Oakland Athletics. It was easy to think of him as an iconic part of the Big Three in Oakland, with Barry Zito and Mark Mulder, then fading into the fabric of Braves baseball for years.

The Braves brought him on board for Juan Cruz, Charles Thomas and Dan Meyer, so that worked out pretty well. They picked the right member of the Oakland trio, with Zito fading badly after leaving Oakland and Mulder now long retired.

Hudson was largely the same pitcher in his 30’s for the Braves that he had been in his 20’s for the Athletics. The recipe was the same every year: ground balls, enough strikeouts, a few walks sprinkled in, and consistency, year after year. He had Tommy John surgery, in 2008, and then came back and was even better in 2010, his best year as a Brave. He earned an All-Star appearance — his only one in nine years as a Brave — but a lot of that had to do with his win total. It was very much a typical Tim Hudson year.

He was impossible to overlook Wednesday night, mowing down the Mets. He’s 38. He wasn’t overpowering with raw stuff; he was just the smartest one out there. You get that many strikeouts,  looking, and you’ve reached a mental place that the hitter hasn’t.

Even when he fell behind, he had the advantage. Ike Davis, a badly struggling hitter, got ahead of Hudson 3-1. Hudson had to come in with a fastball, but rather than the 91 mph he’d been at most of the night, he took just enough off, at 89, to get Davis just ahead of it, lashing it foul. Then Davis looked at strike three.

It is easy, in retrospect, to second guess manager Fredi Gonzalez for having Hudson still pitching in the eighth inning of a 6-0 game. But who was thinking in such apocalyptic terms?

It is akin to getting upset with Hudson for dreaming of a World Series, when his team had run well ahead of a very flawed National League East — and when Hudson himself had pitched to a 2.77 ERA over his last nine starts, a thoroughbred running toward what might be his last chance at a championship.

“Your window of success, to win a World Series, is small,” Hudson had said Monday. “You can have a long baseball career. Not everybody has an opportunity to win a World Series.”

Now Hudson’s chance to do so is in question. The Braves didn’t play that wait-and-see game, putting out noncommittal information and downplaying an injury in the time-honored tradition. Instead, the simple tweet read: “Thoughts and prayers with Huddy.”

As for McCann, the teammate who’d played with him longest, there was no celebrating the 8-2 victory. “You see one of your very good buddies lying there on the ground,” McCann told SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt when it was over, “and it’s hard to watch.”

69 thoughts on “Hudson Injury Is Hard To Take

  1. Huddy is not only a great P, he’s a great ballplayer. He played CF and batted 3rd or 4th at Auburn when he wasn’t throwing. He’s been a joy to watch, and is underrated.

    If it weren’t due to some bad late 00’s Braves teams, he’d still have double the wins to losses. You can always count on Huddy to give you a chance. I can probably count only about 10 times in 9 years that he’s just gotten blown out and put us behind the 8 ball. And of course, everyone knows of his pristine record when being spotted a lead of 3 runs or more….140-1 at last count i think.

    I’ll remember this season for Hudson getting his 200th win against a cocky Washington team and 21 game winner Gio Gonzalez, and adding to his celebration by helping his own cause with a double off the wall and a Home Run.

    I do blame Fredi for not pulling him after his first baserunner there in the 8th (if he had to go out for the 8th to begin with, at 98 pitches, you maybe just take the opportunity to rest a 38 year old arm). You don’t have to be thinking of macabre possibilities, just exercising common sense.

    Huddy was likely to be jettisoned at the end of the year, if he wasn’t willing to take a short term deal with a substantial pay cut. And he just might have, and yet might if he is determined to make a recovery. What a good influence to lose. Always positive.

    To everyone covering first, use the NW corner of the bag, on the inside towards 2nd base and RF. I hate no-fault accidents.

    • I agree with most of what you said but Tim is an experienced Major League pitcher, he had all of his stuff working for him, no reason not to let him pitch the 8th just because he was at 98 pitches.

      Tim is a veteran and should know when he’s reached his limit for the night, and I hate pitch count limits. No reason to limit by pitches at this point in the season unless there was a prior injury.

      I was hoping to see Tim to 9, and given his performance you have to give him the chance to get through it.

      So I don’t think it’s Fredi G’s fault for not pulling him.

      • I wouldn’t have thrown him in the 8th with such a large lead.

        But if you wanted to give him a chance at the CG shutout and trot him out for the 8th, protocol usually calls to get a guy out of there after the 1st baserunner he allows, especially if it’s the leadoff guy.

        I don’t like how Fredi handles most things, so i’ll admit to a bias. I want to hire Tracy, but you can’t argue with results. He’d have made playoffs 3 years in a row if it weren’t for Hanson and Jurrjens going down in Aug ’11. We almost held that 9 game lead with 2/5 of a staff.

    • I’m going with a both fault accident. After watching the video over and over, slowing it down, pausing it, slowing it down, playing at full speed, over and over, they were both at fault. An accident that could have easily been avoided, but maybe only if they knew it was coming. Huddy had the bag, he appeared to be making sure that he had it, as his momentum carried him a bit too far toward the line, and ended up covering most of the bag. Young could have easily stepped on the outer part of the bag, if he would have been reaching with his left foot instead of his right. As a base runner, you are taught to step on the front right corner (closest part of the base toward the foul line). It didn’t appear at all that Young had that intention. I don’t believe that Young was trying to inflict injury, but he definitely didn’t use the best base running judgement to avoid the accident. Huddy was clearly looking toward Freedie trying to catch the ball and feel for the base. Young was looking right at the base. An unfortunate result of two players trying to make a play. Just like plowing into the catcher trying to score. Most of the time at home plate, sliding would have scored, and a very small percentage of the time someone would get hurt doing so. Plowing the catcher over will usually result in an out or an injury. But, the judgement to do either is up to the players at that moment….

  2. hey buddy he was traded for Charles Thomas not Clete Thomas
    Charles fell off the face of the earth there but looked like he was going to be a stud here

  3. I think MLB officials should suspend young for along time for this deliberate act. It’s clear that he meant to inflict injury on Hudson at first base when he had plenty of room to the right to step clear of the bag.

    • To Lee King: “I think MLB officials should suspend young for along time for this deliberate act. It’s clear that he meant to inflict injury on Hudson at first base when he had plenty of room to the right to step clear of the bag.”

      A comment that is not even worthy of a response. But here goes – You clearly NEVER played the game. Hudson’s foot covered MOST of the bag. It was an ACCIDENT. Get your facts straight before making inane comments.

      • I agree with Lee.Intentional.Watch the replay,he’s 6 inches up Hudsons leg ,He did It on purpose and acted like it was accidental immediately after.Had the whole outside of the bag,and that’s the side he should have been aiming for all the way up the line.Saw an opportunity to hurt a guy bad and took it.Dirty,I hope he gets ALS.

        • Why would Eric Young risk an injury in order to hurt Tim Hudson? What if he sprained his ankle stepping on Hudson? You are either trolling for fun, or have never played baseball. Either way, nobody wants to hear your ignorance.

        • Wally, you are dumber than a box of hair. It was an accident plain and simple. And Timmy should know better than to keep his foot on the bag that long. I’m sure he realizes that now. That’s not the first time that has happened to a player on accident and it wont be the last. TROLL!

      • i agree craig it was a accident and a baseball play and he did not do it on purpose and lets hope it dont happen again the ones who said he should be suspended are stupid like the miz says really really really get well tim hudson and hope u get back soon

    • Yes, clearly intentional. And when he sat by Hudson’s side and talked to him until the stretcher came out, he was just mocking him and rubbing it in his face, right?

      Ridiculous. It was an unfortunate accident, not an attack. get over it.

      • Anybody who thinks that was intentional has never even played sand lot baseball the guy was in the air coming down on the bag where do you think he was going to land. Huddy had most of the bag covered by his foot and didn’t really know where the bag was.

    • Are you serious? I am a huge Braves fan. I hate the Mets as much as any Braves fan due to our division rivalry, but there is no way I am going to hang this on EY. This was a freak accident, and in those scenarios, you throw rivalry out the window and just hope everyone is alright/wish those who are not a safe recovery.

      EY showed nothing but class after the accident last night. He certainly moved up a few notches in my books.

    • You sir, are an idiot…. Where did u expect Young to step, that’s just a stupid and ridiculous comment

        • You have serious problems, Idk what you’re watching, Eric Young would have to be the quickest thinker on earth to be able to adjust his foot in mid air to land on his ankle, and Tim Hudson is a respected ball player…. You’re just an idiot

    • So I suppose Eric Young was able to adjust his body while in mid-air once he saw Hudson had put his foot across most of first base in order to intentionally step on him? Never occurred to you that it was a bang-bang play and Hudson had to keep his eyes out toward the first baseman tossing him the ball while searching for the bag?

      Your comment is moronic, Lee King.

    • Wow…. I’ve never read something less true than that. I doubt ANY player in the MLB would try to intentionally harm another player so severely. I feel just as bad for him as I do for Hudson, he by no means meant to do that.

    • Lee, when you are trying to beat out a throw, you are trying to hit the front of the bag where it is the shortest distance. That way the probability of beating the throw is higher. However, Hudson happened to put his foot right where Young is aiming for. Hudson was at fault for not putting his foot on the correct part of the bag. You’d have to be absolutely evil to intentionally end someone’s career. And Young is not that. He is a respectable player and I admire him for being by Hudson’s side the entire time he was being situated.

      • “when you are trying to beat out a throw, you are trying to hit the front of the bag where it is the shortest distance” Which front are you talking about ? The base has a width too, you know ?!! As a batter/runner, you try to hit the outside of the first base bag on the foul line. When running on the inside, chances are you injure the 1b-man/pitcher. Running inside or outside does not alter the running distance, so your reasoning lacks any logic. Furthermore, running on the inside does not happen accidentally. I am not saying Young wanted to hurt Hudson this badly, be he did seem to be looking for some kind of collision, or maybe intimidate the pitcher to have him pull his leg early.

    • As a Phillies fan I hate both the Mets and the Braves, and I agree with the other that you have obviously never played competitive baseball/softball. EY had no where to go. He was lunging for the bag and was in the air. He showed real class the way he stayed by Hudson and was visibly upset.

  4. MLB should introduce the extra orange base at first just as we have in softball slowpitch

    • Don’t think so pal. Why, bc when someone gets hurt we change things? This isn’t the NFL. We don’t need an extra bag to avoid things like this. Even Huddy knew it was essentially his bad.

      You are taught at a young age to get the corner of the bag, not put your whole foot over it. If he didn’t have it, he could have just let him get a hit and not worried about it, or knew where his feet where at.

      I love huddy and wish him no harm, this was a freak play in a way. We don’t need an orange base just so this doesn’t happen again. BC then when do we take it off? Never? Leave it there all game? It would cause way more confusion than needed.

      But if any play needs to be addressed and changed it is the collision at home plate.

      • The orange base would stay there all game and, as proven in many, many softball games, doesn’t cause any extra confusion once you know about that simple rule. I’m not sure how I feel about having it, but I just wanted to explain it.

        I have often wondered about the collisions at home plate though. Why collisions are allowed there when they’re not allowed anywhere else is beyond me.

      • Just the same runners are taught to hit the foulside of the bag when running to first.
        The pitcher receiving a throw from a fielder, while running to a base will regularly lead to a pitcher stepping on the base instead of touching it on the side. This happens because it requires coördination of catching a ball and finding the base with the foot, at the same time, which is not as easy as it looks. Especially on a close play pitchers tend to rush finding the base and will often put their foot on it. The runner is just heading straight into the base. The runner stepping on the in- or outside is a fully conscious act. Young was running the inside deliberately. I do not know if he was trying to injure Hudson this badly (I hope not), but he surely wasnt avoiding contact.

    • I hate to see Hudson go down like this, when he had the lead, and Could had let any one else be pitching at the time. As Chip, and Joe have said all year long. The baseball gods Will take care of any problems the braves run into with the pitching rotation. Brandon Beachy pitches the same night as Hudson, and then Hudson gets hurt. I think they jinxed him. :{ Someone Had to go to the Pen, now the choice is made for us. I am so sorry it happen Mr Hudson, and I hope you get better soon.

    • They just brought up the extra base on tv also.. Saying it would be a good idea. Someone put a comment on it earlier. Saying more people get hurt at 1st than getting hit with a baseball coming off the bat as a pitcher. So who ever made that comment.. +1 for having someone on Tv repeat it. lol

    • This is why from the first time you ever play Little League at 1B, they tell you to take only a corner, and pull your foot off right away ASAP. Because stuff like this can happen. Pitchers just aren’t as careful about it because they don’t practice it day-in and day-out like first basemen do.

      • This play is actually practiced regularly by pitchers, but it is more complex and not the same as the 1b-men usually make. Pitchers run to the base while receiving the throw and finding the base at the same time. On a 3-6-3 double play 1b-men make a play that is comparable and often will also step on the base as opposed just touching the side of the (hollywood)base.
        Furthermore, in Little League runners are taught to run the outside of the base.

    • That’s the gayest thing Ive ever heard. Orange bag. Let’s change the game completely, and just play video games against each other, unless that’s too violent for you too. Wow… When accidents happen, it’s normal to look for why it happened. This was simply a pitcher trying to get his foot to the base while trying to catch the feed from Freddie. He had the base, then tried to make sure by tagging it again. In doing so, his foot went farther onto the bag, as his momentum was carrying him toward the foul line. Young didn’t see that Huddy had the ball until the last split second, and didn’t have enough time to make an adjustment to his base line that he had established. Young was simply trying to get his foot to the bag with nowhere to put it….

  5. Hudson turned out to be the best of big 3 and the only one without a World Series championship. Atlanta was looking strong this year, would have loved to see Huddy pitch deep into the playoffs. Shame, shame, shame.

  6. Gotta feel bad for Timmy, he’s a great guy and a great pitcher…… At least Eric Young showed the respect for the injury

      • It’s obvious you have some hidden bias that is affecting your belief about his act being intentional. If not that then you’re just a person saying something stupid to get a reaction from others. Either way, you’re a moron.

        • Running the inside of the base is a concious decision, and an unnecessary act with the risk of injuring the person receiving the throw and making the out at the base. As such, this injury is not purely accidental and Young is in large part responsible for it. That does not mean he was looking to injure Hudson this badly, but he was not avoiding contact, which is possible without having to give up the optimal attempt to reach the base in time, by just running the outside.

          Without reasoning you just start to call somebody you disagree with a moron. Now that is an intelligent and civilised way to react !!!!!

  7. I played baseball and softball from the age of 9 until well into my 40’s… and I think we can all see that this was NOT INTENTIONAL -Repeat – NOT INTENTIONAL, by Eric Young… – We need to make sure this doe not happen again … and it will – My point is this …First base bags have been the same size for all these years all the bases are… But if you have seen the change over the years in youth softball or baseball …I wonder if they can add a little more size to the first base bag…or add a second bag to the right for the runner..?…They have it in most softball fields that I have played on … Just wondering what you may think … Thank you.

        • If it was intentional, why would EYJ stay with him until he was carted off and then cry as he was walking off the field? It was a FREAK ACCIDENT!

          Please stop embarrassing your fellow Braves fans.

        • wally, go to bed and dream about all the eric youngs out there who are out to get your braves’ pitchers injured, how awful mets and phillies and other eastern division fans are; then wake up tomorrow and realize how much of a braves’ fan you are and feel good that you told everyone off the day before. i hope you feel refreshed for your sense of accomplishment. good for you. remember: the braves’ pitchers move on to their next series. who’ll be after “your” pitchers next? stay tuned …

  8. There was no dirty play. Hudson missed the edge of the bag, and Young was on his horse with no place to safely step on the bag. If Young saw his foot and attempted to avoid, he most likely would be the one with the broken ankle.

    Hudson and Young Jr. are quality, throwback players that play hard. Just a bad luck play for Hudson. Young showed nothing but respect, class and sincere remorse for his actions, though clearly inadvertent.

    • Well said the two players played hard like you should and there was no malicious intent or dirty play at all

  9. To all those fools thinking this was intentional, Eric Young put it best with his twitter. “Thank you all for the kind words. I sincerely appreciate it. Continued prayers for a speedy recovery for Tim. Thank you again. #praying4Tim” and after “For ppl who think I would purposely try 2 hurt someone, & felt they needed to say that 2 me…I will continue 2 pray for u as well. #godbless”

  10. the problem was that dumb ´ss freeman if he had take cleanly that grounder nothing hapen..hes an idiot with a brick for glove

  11. Young’s apology was sincere. Young’s intention was clear. Young knew he had to make contact with Hudson. He just didn’t count on this kind of damage to Hudson. Young had ample time to adjust; unless his eyes were closed he saw what was coming. Young acted on instinct, he just didn’t think it through until it was too late. I have played this game and can tell you that time is entirely different to a honed player. Anyone who has ever been in a car crash can tell you that time slows down; this effect is typical for a ballplayer when incidents like this occur. Of course Young knew what he did, and of course he is regretting it. Wouldn’t you?

    • Have you even watched the replay???? EYJ had NO time to adjust. Period. You are accusing him of intentionally trying to hurt Hudson which is WRONG. Get your eyes checked.

  12. In softball, they use a double-width base at first – half inside the line, half outside the line – to prevent collisions from batters running down the line. If Young had been running for the outside part of a wider base and Hudson seeking to tag the inside half, this wouldn’t have happened. Think about it, MLB!

  13. I am a Phillies fan and hate both the Mets and the Braves, but I wish a speedy recovery to Tim Hudson. No matter who you root for on the field you hate to see a guy hurt like that.

  14. While many of you are debating intentional or not an intentional act, I am here to say that it is just plain unfortunate–any way you look at it. Huddy is a class act and an incredible talent who it looks like might have put on a uniform for the last time.

    As an A’s fan going back to the Zito/Hudson/Mulder days, I was crushed when he left the A’s…

    Wishing you a fast recovery Tim!

  15. Wally is clearly trolling, just stop talking about him, you guys are just fueling his fire. Notice the simple sentence comments, just trying to spark something. Classic trolling.

  16. It was hard to watch….Tim went down hard….however, Eric was just playing hard and not trying to do anything but veat out a base hit…..feel better Tim

  17. Hudson had Tommy John surgery in 2008, not 2009. He came back in September 2009.

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  19. It was a great play: Young’s was to make contact and get on; Freeman’s was to field it and get to first. When Freddie bobbled, Hudson had to get on his horse to first, and take a feed while finding the bag with his foot- all at the same time. Young was to all-out sprint to first. Little league says to aim for the front of the bag, but DON’T BREAK YOUR STRIDE; no stutter-stepping or heaven forbid diving for the base. And no touching corners unless digging for second; it’s easy to roll an ankle on a corner. Young was trying to cash in on a bobble by beating the feed as he should have. Hudson’s foot had a lot of the bag. As a Braves fan, I’ve seen Huddy make this play dozens of times before; he has always withdrawn his foot immediately after the catch. This time, ball barely beat the runner, leaving Huddy no time to avoid the flying Young. No maliced intent; just an accidentally misplaced foot.

  20. I won’t say that EY intentionally tried to hurt Hudson but there is no reason for him to be stepping on the inner part of the bag except to initiate some sort of contact or collision with the hopes that Hudson drops the ball, etc… Hudson also could have helped himself by quickly removing the foot from the bag. Just bad luck….

  21. I just feel like someone’s not telling us everything about the injuury. They keep calling it his ankle, but with the spikes going into his foot and then rolling and flattening it (as we see in the slo-mo), I think it crushed every bone in his foot and they don’t want to tell us.

  22. My 5 year old daughter was watching ESPN with me when they showed the higlight, and as she was saying her nighly prayer she asked God to help the man that hurt his foot. Kids… when you think they’re not paying attention, they are capturing everything that happens around them. Get well soon Tim.