Posted July 25, 2013

Tim Hudson suffers season-ending ankle fracture on play at first base

Atlanta Braves, Tim Hudson
Tim Hudson is out for the year after breaking his ankle Wednesday night on a play at first base.

Tim Hudson is out for the year after breaking his ankle Wednesday night on a play at first base.

Braves starter Tim Hudson was well on his way to his fourth straight win Wednesday night at Citi Field when, with two on and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Mets left fielder Eric Young Jr. hit a ground ball that bounced off the chest of Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. Hudson dashed over to cover first base, beating Young to the bag for the out. However, Hudson stepped on the far side of the bag with his right foot and Young, racing down the line, stepped on Hudson’s right ankle, breaking it and ending the 38-year-old right-hander’s season.

For those with the stomach to watch it, here’s the gruesome video with the full eight minutes it took the emergency medical staff to attend to Hudson and cart him off the field:

Unfortunate as Hudon’s injury is, the Braves are uniquely suited to handle it. Not only do they have the largest division lead in the majors, now a full eight games over the Phillies with the Nationals having slipped into third place, five games below .500, but they also have a starting pitcher ready to return from a year-long injury absence in Brandon Beachy, who turned in a strong six innings for Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday night in what would likely have been his final rehab start anyway following his June 2012 Tommy John surgery.

It’s very unlikely that Beachy will pick up where he left off last June, when he had a 2.00 ERA and 0.96 WHIP after 13 starts, but Hudson had been merely league-average this season, hitting the disabled list with an 8-7 record and a 3.97 ERA. Beachy, who is 12-10 with a 3.07 ERA (127 ERA+) in 41 career starts, should be able to replaced Hudson’s performance rather easily, assuming his elbow is indeed fully recovered.

Instead, what the Braves lose with the Hudson injury is the opportunity to use Beachy’s return to improve their rotation elsewhere. Kris Medlen is 0-3 with an 8.59 ERA over his last three starts, and lefty Paul Maholm just landed on the disabled list himself with a sprained left wrist, which was partially to blame for his own recent struggles (0-3, 10.13 ERA in his last three starts). Left-handed prospect Alex Wood, a second-round draft pick out of the University of Georgia last June who has pitched well out of the Atlanta bullpen since making his major-league debut at the end of May, was already scheduled to take Maholm’s start on Thursday. But the injury to Hudson means that Wood will have to hold down Maholm’s spot until the veteran is ready to return, rather than yield it to Beachy.

One could argue that the Braves also lose Hudson’s veteran leadership. The 27-year-old Medlen is now the team’s second-oldest starter, 25-year-old Mike Minor is its second-most experienced (both trailing the injured Maholm), and Medlen, who was a controversial choice to start last year’s wild-card game over Hudson, is the only remaining Braves starter with postseason experience. However, Hudson, who picked up his 200th win earlier this year, should remain with the team as, effectively, an extra pitching coach.

Beachy, who posted a 3.00 ERA in seven Triple-A starts during his rehab assignment but also walked 5.4 men per nine innings in those seven games, should take Hudson’s next turn in the rotation Monday at home against the Rockies.

7 comments
sharon5
sharon5

I'm making this statement knowing that I'm probably going to get a negative reaction.  As a former Little League Mom that spent a lot of hours under the Georgia sun, cheering on kids from the bleachers, even I learned that you put your foot on the side of the base, not on the top.  Unless you want it to get stomped on.  I would NEVER wish that injury on any player of any team, but Young's foot had no where else to go.  And I bet if you asked Hudson, he would admit that he knew better and that it shouldn't have happened.  This unfortunate incident is called "a teachable moment" for any ball player.  And my boys and I went to the Fulton County Stadium more than once to cheer on the Braves and do "the Chop".  And I've got the red foam tomahawks to prove it!


USJohn316fun
USJohn316fun

Ouch!!!     That really hurts to watch.  I hope Hudson makes a full recovery.  Eric Young demonstrated genuine concern...nice to see.

SlamaLama
SlamaLama

Beachy is money, can't wait to see him back in the rotation. 

TedLee
TedLee

Painful to watch. Tim's as classy as they get in the MLB, and I feel for him having to take this injury at a precarious time in his career. The Braves will miss him, but with Beachy back, they should be OK. Hopefully Frank Wren will get on the phone and pick up another starter to help down the stretch and give the rotation a bit more certainty.

BravoJohhny
BravoJohhny

Perhaps it is technically accurate to say that Hudson has been "merely league average" this season, but that ignores what he's done over his last 10 starts. He had some uncharacteristic perfomances in May but is (was) back to pitching at a "merely Hudson average" - meaning a rock-solid, dependable pitcher who can pitch deep into a game and almost every game gives the Braves a chance to win. A lack of run support (3 no decisions in last 10 starts despite 1 earned run over 7 innings) might make his W-L numbers appear "average" but only someone who doesn't know much about the Braves or Huddy would say he can easily be replaced. A clubhouse leader, respected league-wide, an effective veteran starter, and a guy you want trotting out to start the big games - Tim Hudson is not average and cannot be easily replaced. Huge loss for the Braves nation.

throbertson1973
throbertson1973

@BravoJohhny 100% agree. Tim has gotten terrible run support this year. The loss of his veteran leadership in addition to the steady pitching does hurt a lot.  Last night he was pitching a gem. I didn't know a great deal about Young until the injury but admire his humanity and concern for a fellow player.