On Thursday, I said that Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson should move to the bullpen when Brandon Beachy completes his minor league rehab assignment and returns to the big leagues for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last June.
A day later, Hudson has a chance to perhaps make me eat my words, as he starts the first game after the All-Star break when the Braves begin a three-game weekend road series with the Chicago White Sox on Friday.
And with several players banged up — including Jordan Schafer and B.J. Upton, who are on the disabled list, and Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton and Jason Heyward, who all went down in the final few days before the four-day layoff — it is even more imperative for Hudson to bring his ‘A’ game.
Sitting at 6-7 with a 4.02 ERA, the 37-year-old is certainly not having his best year, especially when you consider the fact that he has posted a winning record in each of his first 14 seasons, something that has been achieved by just a handful of pitchers in MLB history.
A matchup with the last-place team in the American League Central could be just what the doctor ordered for Hudson, and given that he has a long history against AL squads, odds are even higher that he just might get back to .500 against the hapless White Sox.
It’ll likely be either Hudson or rotation mate Paul Maholm who heads to the bullpen or gets traded with Beachy on his way back, and Friday presents an opportunity for the veteran right-hander to put a little more pressure on Maholm to step up his game.