Right-hander 'crushed' by setback, facing second Tommy John surgery
Barry M. Bloom
PHOENIX -- Daniel Hudson wasn't at Chase Field on Friday, but manager Kirk Gibson said the D-backs right-hander was "pretty crushed" when he learned that he had again torn the recently repaired ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
Hudson had Tommy John surgery to replace the ligament on July 9 and was working his way back in rehab when he came out of a Minor League game three days ago after two innings pitching for Double-A Mobile at Jacksonville, Fla.
He now faces the option of having a second Tommy John surgery or not pitching again at all. The decision is being pondered by Hudson and the D-backs' medical staff, said Gibson, who added that he was stunned by the news.
"I felt like I got kicked in the stomach, exactly," Gibson said on Friday before the D-backs opened a three-game series against the Giants. "He was very hungry for it. It has been a long road for him. He's not the only guy who has had to endure that. I think there are 18 to 20 guys in the big leagues today, who have had a revision.
"I'm sure he was highly disappointed. I felt really bad for him. Of course we all do even beyond what it means for the team. There's interesting turns in everybody's journey, and I'm sure he'll be up to it. I'm not sure where his decision process is, but we'll all certainly support him no matter what he decides to do."
Asked if he had talked directly with Hudson, Gibson added: "I did not. I know some guys have. He's pretty crushed about it."
Hudson, 26, hasn't pitched in a big league game since he was pulled because of the injury on June 26 at Atlanta. He has been on the disabled list since.
The start on Tuesday for the BayBears was his first along the rehab trail. He lasted those two innings while allowing a run on two hits and a walk with a strikeout. A postgame examination revealed the extent of the latest season-ending injury.
The D-backs were hoping that Hudson would be able to rejoin the rotation after the July 16 All-Star Game in New York. That, of course, will not happen.
Their rotation currently is also without Brandon McCarthy, who is on the 15-day disabled list with irritation in his right shoulder. McCarthy said on Friday that he felt a little improvement, but he had no idea when he might be ready to return. Ian Kennedy, who allowed 13 hits and 10 earned runs in four innings to the Cardinals in a 12-8 loss on Thursday night in St. Louis, is slated to make his next start, Gibson said.
Gibson also was asked on Friday if he thought Hudson had been rushed back. The normal recovery time for Tommy John surgery is usually a year to 18 months.
"No, no," he said. "When they do elbow surgeries [they measure the return] in a matter of weeks. In a calendar year, if you look at it as four weeks to a month, he's at 12 months right now. If he was a reliever he'd have been back a long time ago. So we were just getting him built up. I'm not going to sit up here and talk about why it happened or whether it shouldn't have happened. Nobody really knows that. Everything was done properly by all parties and certainly he did his job. It just didn't work out."