Hudson planning second elbow surgery, comeback

PHOENIX — For a few hours Friday, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Daniel Hudson thought about calling it quits.

After learning he had re-torn the ulnar collateral ligament repaired via Tommy John surgery last July, Hudson was “50-50” between retiring and going through the rehab process again, but, ultimately, he decided he had no choice but to work his way back again.

“I’d be lying to you if I said all I thought about was getting it fixed,” Hudson said Sunday. “People have it way worse than I do, so I figured if I didn’t at least try, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror five years from now.”

Hudson originally tore his right UCL last June 26 and had Tommy John surgery July 9. He was making his first rehab start with Double-A Mobile early last week when he exited the game with elbow stiffness. An MRI confirmed he had re-torn the ligament.

Hudson said the news was hard to take, and he spent the next couple hours contemplating retirement, not sure he could go through another year or more of rehab and not playing baseball.

“I didn’t even want to see anybody,” Hudson said. “I just sat at my house and tried to make sense of it, but it didn’t really work, so it’s nice to come in here and see everybody.

“I just tried to stop feeling sorry for myself. It was tough. It’s a crappy statement, but it is what it is. You’ve got to try to do what you can to stay in this game as long as possible.”

Hudson returned to Chase Field on Saturday having decided to do whatever he can to get back on the mound, which likely means another Tommy John surgery. Hudson plans to go see renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who specializes in sports injuries, but is not certain exactly when yet.

Andrews will almost certainly confirm that another surgery is required, and if that is the case, Hudson said, he plans to have Andrews perform the surgery a few days later. Hudson’s last surgery was performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum, another renowned sports medicine specialist who died from cancer at the age of 66 less than two weeks ago. Yocum, who was also the Angels’ team doctor, had been the protégé of Dr. Frank Jobe, who performed the first-ever UCL replacement surgery on pitcher Tommy John.

Hudson said he felt good in his rehab process and experienced no issues in the first inning of his rehab start. In the second inning, though, his elbow “locked up” and he left the game. Hudson said he doesn’t believe he pushed himself too much in his rehab.

“Nothing was done wrong rehab-wise or in the surgery,” Hudson said. “It just wasn’t strong enough, in the end. I wouldn’t say by any means we pushed it too fast. Realistically, if I made three starts in the minor leagues, I was three weeks ahead of 12 months (of recovery time). It’s not like I was trying to come back at nine months.

“It sucks, but like I said, people have it way worse than I do.”