SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Tim Hudson left little doubt Wednesday that his surgically-repaired right ankle is healthy, throwing a spring-high 78 pitches and sliding into second on a double off the left-field wall. His sense of humor is ready for the season, too.
“It was a work day all the way around,” Hudson said. “I ran the bases when I smoked that double. I’ve gotta work on my slide, though. My slide is shabby.”
Asked about the decision to take second on a scorching March day, the 39-year-old smiled.
“Three steps past first base I was highly regretting that decision to keep going,” he said.
This was a “work day” in the truest sense for Hudson, who is still trying to build his arm strength up. He went six innings, giving up three runs on six hits, including a two-run homer by Troy Tulowitzki. Hudson had retired the first 10 before Corey Dickerson singled, putting Hudson in the stretch. Tulowitzki followed with a no-doubter to left and Hudson spent the rest of the day pitching out of the stretch, trying to iron out his mechanics.
“From the stretch I haven’t been feeling real crisp,” he said. “It’s just a timing thing — getting my arm up and letting it catch up instead of rushing through it.”
With Hudson likely lined up to be the fourth starter in the rotation, the Giants would take six months of efforts similar to Wednesday's. Manager Bruce Bochy was pleased with Hudson’s taxing day.
“The first pitch out of the stretch got away from him, but that’s a real, real nice job,” Bochy said. “It’s good to see him catch up, because he was a little behind.”
Other notes and updates from the day we learned that Dinger is still alive and still a menace to society …
HEALTH WATCH: Buster Posey was pulled after five and Bochy said his catcher has some minor scapula discomfort. Posey had trouble getting the shoulder loose, but the Giants don’t consider it a big deal. Still, Posey will play first base tomorrow instead of catching. On that note, want a hint about which way the Giants are leaning for the Opening Day roster? It’ll be Hector Sanchez catching Tim Lincecum tomorrow.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Carlos Gonzalez put a bunt down to beat the shift, something Brandon Belt has tried a couple times this spring. It’ll be interesting to see if guys start doing that this year given how shifty infields were last season. It’s the easiest way to beat a shift if you’re willing to take the ego hit (most guys aren’t).
NOTEWORTHY: Justin Maxwell had a pinch-hit double against a left-hander, and you can bet management took note … Belt had two hits, dropping his career average at Salt River Fields to about .834 … Joe Panik was 0 for 4 and is now hitting .174 this spring. Bochy said he’s not concerned … Turns out Roberto Kelly has some Tim Flannery in him after all. With two outs in the third and Hudson on second, Panik hit a high fly to center field. Kelly frantically (and jokingly) waved Hudson home as he slowly approached third base.
QUOTABLE: After getting stranded on second in the third inning, Hudson was late getting out to the mound for the start of the fourth. He looked at the pace-of-play clock in center and saw that it was at 47 seconds remaining. Hudson said pitchers are working with the understanding that umpires will show some leniency if they’re on the mound shortly after running the bases or hitting. The same is supposed to hold true for catchers.
“I think I made three or four warmup pitches,” Hudson said. “I spent the last 20 seconds trying not to pass out.”