Hudson ready after dominant spring finale
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Daniel Hudson likes the way the ball is coming out of his hand. He should. It seems to disappear on the way to the plate.
Hudson gave up one hit and one run before retiring the final 14 batters in his final spring outing Sunday, a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. He struck out five, two looking, and the Dodgers didn’t have anything close to a hit after James Loney’s RBI double into the right-center-field gap with one out in the first.
“He’s ready,” manager Kirk Gibson said.
Added Hudson: “I feel comfortable with everything right now. I can’t say enough how good the ball feels coming out of my hand. You just try to keep fine-tuning everything and get ready for the regular season.
“I’m ready for the season to start. It was a long spring. Now that we are getting down near the end, I think we are all excited to get going and play some games that actually mean something,” Hudson said.
Hudson was 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this spring, and he’ll make his first regular-season start Saturday against San Francisco.
Hudson worked on a third pitch this spring, a hard-biting breaking ball to use as a put-away pitch, and said his mental approach also has improved.
“I think I have a better mental state going into the season than I did last year. I’m really excited to get going. Just in a better place. I’ve been working on my demeanor on the mound and my attitude,” said Hudson, 16-12 last season after posting a 3.18 ERA in spring.
Gibson has seen it.
“He’s much more mature. He understands what he has to do. He’s more able to control his emotions. He’s more focused on what’s going to help us. We’ll see if he takes it into the season, but he had a good spring,” Gibson said.
The D-backs plan to meet with Stephen Drew early in the week to lay out a rehabilitation schedule once the regular season begins. Drew, who will open the season on the disabled list, is likely to work out with the team when it is home and work at the minor league/spring training facility when the team is on the road.
“We’ll get all the medical people and evaluate where he started and where he is at and how we want to go from here. How to get him ready,” Gibson said.
Drew has made great progress in the field while recovering from a fractured right ankle and ligament damage, Gibson said, and has been making all the plays in morning drills. Drew has gone into the hole and over the bag, Gibson said, and also has planted and made a jump throw.
“We’ve been focusing on the running component. We just had a discussion on how to get him to start running some light bases and some of those movements. After he does that, we’ll try to combine it all,” Gibson said.
As a reference, Giants catcher Buster Posey has not caught back-to-back spring training games one after suffering a less-serious ankle injury late last May. Drew had a spiral fracture; Posey did not.
CHANGE IS GOOD
Left-hander Craig Breslow struck out one batter and got a bad-swing popout on another in pitching a scoreless sixth inning while mixing in a changeup at the suggestion of Gibson. Breslow gave up three runs on four hits against the Dodgers on Saturday.
“I talked to him about it this morning. He was just fastball-slider (Saturday). Sometimes you have to throw other pitches to get them off those. I knew he had a good changeup. He hasn’t been using it. Maybe he’s not real confident in it, but the only way to get confidence is to use (it). In spring training, you can do that,” Gibson said.
Lefty Mike Zagurski gave up a run in two innings, the first time he has gone two innings this spring. He also struck out two, and with a 2.61 ERA in 10 spring outings, he remains in competition for a bullpen spot. He is out of options and likely would be claimed if the D-backs tried to get him through waivers.
“Everybody who is here has a shot” at the 25-man roster, Gibson said.
Left-hander Patrick Corbin (1-0, 0.57 ERA) will make his sixth spring appearance, his third start, when the D-back finish the Salt River Fields portion of spring training against the Chicago Cubs and right-hander Ray Jackson.
Corbin has the fourth-best ERA in the majors among pitchers with at least 15 innings this spring and the second-best in the National League behind Colorado left-hander Drew Pomeranz (3-0, 0.53), who has won the No. 5 spot in the Rockies’ rotation.
Wade Miley and David Hernandez also are scheduled to pitch for the D-backs.
Aaron Hill was back in the starting lineup Sunday after being sent home from the park early Saturday with flu-like symptoms. … Gibson’s original lineup for the April 1 game included right-hander Daniel Hudson hitting leadoff and Willie Bloomquist batting ninth. April fools. Ryan Roberts singled and tripled as the leadoff hitter, Hudson batted ninth and Bloomquist was not even on the trip. Ryan Budde and John McDonald hit their first spring homers. Budde, the third catcher in camp, did not catch the fourth inning after suffering right hamstring tightness while running the bases in the top of the inning. … The D-backs were glad to be able to keep Brett Lorin, their Rule 5 pick who posted strong minor league numbers around a couple of injuries in his four seasons in the Seattle and Pittsburgh organizations. “He’s got pretty lively stuff. I see him tougher on righties right now. He looks like he’s deceptive,” Gibson said. Lorin, a starter most of his career, is 18-16 with a 3.03 ERA in 341 1/3 minor league innings, with 318 strikeouts and 91 walks. He was assigned to Class AA Mobile.
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