Tim Hudson glad he's not pitching against former teammates

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerMay 3, 2014 

Indians Giants Baseball

In this photo made with a multiple exposure, San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Hudson throws to the Cleveland Indians during the fifth inning of a baseball game on Friday, April 25, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)


ATLANTA -- Things could not be better for Tim Hudson, but the veteran pitcher admitted it was odd to show up at Turner Field on Friday night and get dressed in the visitor's clubhouse.

Hudson spent nine seasons playing for the Atlanta Braves before they opted not to pursue a new deal with the right-hander. Hudson quickly signed a two-year deal with San Francisco and has made a seemless transition into the Giants' starting rotation.

Still, it feels weird to come home to play for the visitors. And the Columbus native said he's happy that he's not starting one of the three games in Atlanta.

"I'm kind of glad I'm not pitching," Hudson said. "It would be kind of weird. It's nice to come here and enjoy the fans, enjoy my family and enjoy seeing my old teammates and not worry about trying to get them out."

Hudson was able to stay at his own home in Auburn, Ala., on Thursday night with his wife, Kim, and their three children. (Hudson is currently renting his home in Peachtree City to Braves pitcher Aaron Harang.) Hudson said he takes away only good feelings from his years in Atlanta, where he was able to play for his favorite childhood team.

"There's a lot to miss here," he said. "Great fans. Great city. We had nine unbelievable years here. It was a dream come true for me. I had a chance to play for Bobby Cox, the greatest manager ever. … A lot of the guys over there are like brothers and great friends."

Hudson spent the first six years of his career in Oakland and built a reputation as one of the top right-handers in the American League. The Braves traded for him prior to the 2004 season and he joined John Smoltz as the anchors of the pitching staff.

Hudson's stay with the Braves was marked with a high level of success. Although he never won 20 games for Atlanta, like he did for the A's in 2000, Hudson could always be counted on to take his turn in the rotation and give the team a chance to win. Other than two years when he was injured -- 2008-09 with Tommy John surgery and 2013 with the fractured ankle -- Hudson never won fewer than 13 games or made fewer than 28 starts. He finished his career in Atlanta with a record of 113-72 with a 3.56 ERA.

"My nine years here were awesome, but all good things come to an end, and it was time to move on," Hudson said. "We were very blessed to have been able to play nine years here. I can never say one negative thing about this place."

Hudson is off to a great start for his new team. He's started six games and gone 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA. In 45 2-3 innings, Hudson has struck out 31 and walked only two. Hudson came up one out shy of a complete game in his most recent start on April 30, a 3-2 win over San Diego.

"I'm happy with how the first month has gone, but it's a long year," Hudson said. "Coming into spring training, I had a lot to prove. The season has gotten off to such a good start, and I'm starting to feel pretty good physically. I couldn't ask for a better situation and I'm hoping we can keep things going."

Manager Bruce Bochy couldn't be happier with Hudson's contributions to the team.

"We love having Huddy," Bochy said. "He's a pro. He's been our most consistent starter, our stabilizer. He's got a great sense of humor but he's very competitive and our other pitchers are going to be better because of what Huddy brings with his pitching and brings with his knowledge about pitching. He's got a great way about him.

"To get him to come out West would be close to impossible, but we got it done and he's been everything we'd hoped for and even more."

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