Tim Hudson, Braves talking contract extension

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Last week the Braves and Tim Hudson began discussing a contract extension and Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the two sides “plan to resume negotiations this week” on a deal “expected to be for at least three years” at more than $9 million per season.
For now he’s still technically under contract with a $12 million mutual option for 2010 and the Braves would likely be in favor of bringing the 34-year-old right-hander back on a one-year deal given that he’s just seven starts removed from Tommy John surgery.
However, Hudson has indicated that he’ll opt out in search of a multi-year pact after looking good down the stretch with a 3.61 ERA and 30/13 K/BB ratio in 42 post-surgery innings. Hudson has said previously that he’d take “a hometown discount” to remain in Atlanta, but that still probably means at least $30 million over three years.
When healthy he’s long been one of the better starters in baseball, but as the Braves have learned with Derek Lowe committing to a multi-year contract with any pitcher in his mid-30s is a gamble and Hudson’s elbow problems obviously make him an even bigger risk. Beyond that, with Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Kenshin Kawakami, Javier Vazquez, and Lowe the Braves have perhaps the most rotation depth in the league.
They could definitely withstand losing Hudson and in fact re-signing him would almost surely mean trading away one of Lowe, Vazquez, or Kawakami. A decision on his mutual option for 2010 must be made within three days of the World Series ending, so if Hudson is going to remain in Atlanta it seems likely that a new deal will be struck this week.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.