Steve Gilbert at mlb.com published an update on the progress of Arizona Diamondbacks‘ pitcher Daniel Hudson. The big righty underwent Tommy John surgery last July after making only nine starts on the season. Hudson is aiming for a return to the D’backs in July and is hopeful he could once again make a valuable contribution to the Arizona rotation. My concern is not whether or not there will be a numbers issue when he gets back. I just want him to come back at full strength, even if it means not returning until September.
I was able to catch a couple of Hudson’s starts in 2011 and thought he was going to be a really good pitcher for a long time. Even though Ian Kennedy racked up 21 wins that season, I thought Hudson would be better than him in 2012 and for years to come. Still only 25, that is a possibility as long as he can avoid another major arm injury. At 6 foot 3 and 225 pounds, Huddy is an imposing figure on the mound. He has the frame to be a consistent 220-230 inning horse for the next ten years. In order for that to happen, the organization has to be wise and not rush him back. It can be argued that the team caused the need for Tommy John surgery in the first place. Before 2011, the most innings Hudson threw in a season at the Major League level was 95 1/3 in 2010. The following year he logged 222 innings, an astonishing jump for such a young hurler. While I am no big fan of pitch counts or innings limits, laboring almost 130 innings more than the previous year had to provide a tremendous amount of stress on his arm.
In 2013, the D’backs and Hudson himself have to be careful about rushing back into the rotation. He might be better served to finish off the year in relief and then using a full Spring Training to get acclimated back to starting. Teams always look for bullpen help around the trading deadline. The D’backs wouldn’t have to make any trades in that regard. They would already have Daniel Hudson to lock down the 7th or 8th inning.
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