Odds and ends: Braves pitchers and catchers report
Bobby Cox and Tim Hudson both enjoyed Moneyball. Well they didn’t like the way Art Howe was portrayed or the fact that the film didn’t at least give a pretty solid staring rotation some credit. But they both found the movie to be entertaining.
Had the film focused on the pitchers, I am pretty sure Hudson is convinced the character portraying him would have been played by Brad Pitt.
Hudson was among the many Braves in a good mood as pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training on Sunday. The veteran pitcher is not exactly thrilled about the fact that he will likely miss at least the season’s first month as he recovers from a Nov. 28 surgical procedure that fused his L5/S1 vertebrae with a sponge filled with bone-producing proteins.
But he’s feeling much better than he had while pitching with back discomfort in recent years. He entered the offseason hoping to avoid the surgical procedure. But when he continued to struggle while putting on shoes and performing other normal tasks, he decided he had no other choice.
“ I definitely feel like I’m getting around a lot better,” Hudson said. “I felt like Fred Sanford for two or three years walking around the locker room.” <p>
Yeah it would have seemingly made much more sense for Hudson to undergo surgery immediately after the 2011 season ended. Had he done so, he might have been ready for the start of the regular season. But now it appears either Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado will be filling his vacant rotation spot in April.
Those of you who believe Kris Medlen should always be mentioned in this discussion should know Hudson pointed toward Medlen’s locker when he said:
“I don’t have any pressure to get back early or back on time. One thing that makes it a lot easier for me is that we have guys who can fill in and be just fine. That guy (Medlen) right there, he is as good as anybody we have in my opinion when he’s healthy.”
That’s high praise for Medlen and there might soon be a day when he fills a starting role on a regular basis. But I still think he’s most valuable as a versatile middle reliever with this club. You can comfortably pitch him in any late-inning role. His presence should really help Jonny Venters, Eric O’Flaherty and Craig Kimbrel over the long haul.
Hudson was also happy to point out that a fellow Auburn man, Dr. Stevan Wray, performed his surgery.
“I gave him a “War Eagle” before they put me under,” Hudson said.
Early arrivals: It has been pretty impressive to see how many position players are already in camp. Position players are not scheduled to report until Friday. Yet as of Sunday, shortstop Tyler Pastornicky and centerfielder Michael Bourn were the only projected starting position players who had not yet arrived in camp.
Camp Fredi: During his first Spring Training with the Braves last year, manager Fredi Gonzalez placed a greater emphasis on conditioning drills. This year he plans for the players to do a lot of their conditioning while completing baserunning drills. He believes this will prove more beneficial than having them run along the warning track at the end of their daily workout.
“Instead of having these guys run 10 poles…These guys don’t run poles. They run the bases for a living. We’ll condition with them running the bases. That’s what they do. I learned it from the football mentality. Why you going to ask a 300-pound lineman to run a 100-yard dash.”