Tim Hudson ‘excited’ to pitch on baseball’s biggest stage

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — And Tim Hudson called his last start the most important of his life.

Five days after he made the first World Series start of his career, the Giants will turn to the veteran starting pitcher again in Wednesday night’s winner-take-all Game 7 against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

[REWIND: After 34 minutes of pain, Giants look to make history in Game 7]

Kansas City evened the series on Tuesday night by knocking around Jake Peavy and just about anyone who pitched for the Giants in a 10-0 victory in front of 40,372 at Kauffman Stadium. Peavy only recorded four outs and gave up five earned runs en route to the shortest World Series start since David Wells was knocked out of Game 3 in 2003.

Tuesday’s one-sided affair gives Hudson, 39, one more opportunity at October glory.

“When you’re a little kid in the backyard, you always think of World Series games and hitting home runs to win a Game 7 of the World Series or pitching in a big game,” Hudson said. “I’m no different than anybody else.”

Prior to last week, Hudson, who will be opposed by Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie, had gone 16 seasons, 457 regular season starts and 3,003 innings without pitching in a World Series.

[RELATED: Unheralded Guthrie takes ball for Royals in Game 7]

Though Hudson didn’t pitch poorly in Game 3, he earned the loss after surrendering three earned runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings in San Francisco. Kansas City scored a first-inning run against Hudson and built a three-run lead before their vaunted three-headed bullpen monster closed out a 3-2 win.

Hudson’s effort was strong enough that Giants manager Bruce Bochy has eliminated the idea he’ll start Madison Bumgarner on two days rest after his 117-pitch effort on Sunday.

“Huddy is our starter, and we have all the confidence in him,” Bochy said.

Bumgarner does, too.

The man who has limited Kansas City to a run in 16 innings in the World Series looks forward to watching Hudson in what could be the defining moment of a great career.

“It couldn’t be a better story for Huddy,” Bumgarner said. “I’m really excited to watch him. I know he’s prepared. He’s going to be ready.”

[RELATED: Bumgarner ready to go if needed in Game 7]

Bothered earlier this season by hip discomfort, Hudson said he felt good on Friday and has since. He didn’t deviate from his normal routine between starts and focused on mechanics in his midweek bullpen session after not feeling as sharp as he would have liked in Game 3.

Considering this is the biggest start of his life, Hudson seems as confident and prepared as he can be.

“Sixteen years in the big leagues, I finally have that chance,” Hudson said. “I mean, I’m really, really excited about it. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow and have some fun.”

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

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The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.

Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.

The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.

The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.