Rehab updates: Hudson, Schmidt, and Garcia

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* Seeing game action for the first time
since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery last August, Tim Hudson
tossed two scoreless innings at high Single-A last night. “I felt
really good,” Hudson said. “The ball felt really good coming out of my
hand and I didn’t have any problems with my arm.”

Barring a setback Hudson could be back in Atlanta at some point next
month and the Braves have plenty of incentive to evaluate his arm with
a $12 million team option or $1 million buyout looming for next season.

* Jason Schmidt hasn’t pitched in the majors since June 16, 2007, but will start for the Dodgers tonight
after posting a 3.65 ERA and 37/14 K/BB ratio in 44.1 innings while
rehabbing his surgically repaired shoulder in the minors. His last
big-league victory came nearly 28 months ago, so don’t expect much.

* Freddy Garcia is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today in front of the White Sox’s brass, at which point he’ll be sent out on a minor-league rehab assignment.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.