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News » Atlanta Braves Inside Pitch 2009-04-30

Atlanta Braves Inside Pitch 2009-04-30

Atlanta Braves Inside Pitch 2009-04-30
Third baseman Chipper Jones stood behind a knot of writers surrounding right-hander Tim Hudson, trying to suppress a huge grin.

"Some of us are wondering why he's even here," Jones piped up before exploding with laughter.

Hudson is laughing, too, these days. He did a ton of upper-body work in the offseason, something he never had the time to do before last season's unexpected Tommy John surgery and subsequent rehab.

Hudson's wiry body has some serious bulk to it across the chest and shoulders now; strengthening the shoulders -- especially the right one -- is designed to take pressure off his elbow, and should result in a more effective sinker when he begins to throw in earnest.

Before last weekend, Hudson had taken a planned break from tossing. With the team in Cincinnati, he started playing easy catch, a precursor to beginning to rebuild his arm strength.

Next up is throwing from a distance of 60 feet. He expects to be back on a mound in two or three weeks. So far he's thrown nothing but fastballs. "I haven't done any off-speed stuff," he reports, "and that'll let you know where I'm at. I've got to build everything up and then I'll start mixing in off-speed stuff."

His real goal, though, is to be pitching with the Braves for real in the last month of this season. Don't count out an appearance out of the bullpen, something he did as recently as the game before the All-Star break last season, because otherwise he'd have too many days off.

"I'm hoping that our team's (winning) and they don't need me," he said, "but I just want to be a helpful addition somewhere."

CARDINALS 5, BRAVES 3: RHP Javier Vasquez pitched eight innings Wednesday, retiring the Cardinals on 10 or fewer pitches for most of them. However, St. Louis put together a four-run rally in the fifth. The Braves made their own breaks early, running the bases aggressively and taking advantage of walks, but they couldn't sustain that.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 30, 2009

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