Tim Hudson allows five runs over four innings in second rehab start

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From Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution comes word that Tim Hudson allowed five runs on nine hits over four innings tonight in his second minor league rehab start with Class A Rome.

That’s a pretty ugly line, but Rogers notes that he was the victim of a “ton of seeing-eye stuff.” On the bright side, he threw 45 out of 62 pitches for strikes while striking out one and walking none.

Hudson is currently rehabbing from November surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back. He tossed two scoreless innings in a Grapefruit League game last Monday against the Mets before allowing two runs (one earned) over three innings in his first rehab start last Saturday. Barring any setbacks, he should be fully stretched out to join the Braves’ rotation in late April or early May.

Hudson, 36, went 16-10 with a 3.22 ERA and 158/56 K/BB ratio over 215 innings last season. He owns an impressive 3.16 ERA since the start of the 2007 season. Roy Halladay, Adam Wainwright, Johan Santana, Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia are the only pitchers (with at least 800 innings pitched) with a lower ERA during the same time frame.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉