Pirates’ Daniel Hudson ‘excited to be home,’ looking forward to facing Diamondbacks
PHOENIX – Fan Fest: that’s the only time Daniel Hudson can remember being in the visitor’s clubhouse at Chase Field.
But there he stood on Thursday with a big smile on his face.
When Hudson signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in December, he knew this day would eventually come. He knew he would walk back into the building where he spent more than half a decade of his major-league career.
“It’s definitely different,” Hudson said. “Coming to the field a little bit later and walking past that other locker room is different, but I’m excited to be home, be back here and see the girls and sleep in my own bed for a couple of days.”
Hudson pitched for six seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, first as a starter. Then, after a pair of Tommy John surgeries, he resurrected his career as a reliever.
Hudson won a career-high 16 games in 2011, helping the D-backs to a first-place finish in the National League West. Three seasons later he transitioned to the bullpen. Hudson made 64 appearances in 2015 and a career-high 70 last season, including earning the win in the regular season finale with a scoreless ninth inning against San Diego.
After, Hudson was moved to tears, knowing he likely had just worn the D-backs uniform for the final time.
“It was tough to say goodbye. I wanted to kind of go out on a high note, which luckily we did,” he said with his No. 41 Pirates uniform hanging in his locker stall. “It was a lot of different emotions that day and I’m looking forward to being back.”
Two months later, Hudson signed a two-year, $11 million contract with Pittsburgh.
“There were discussions (with the D-backs),” he said. “I kept them in the loop on everything that was going on, but … timing is everything in free agency and the time frame I was looking at trying to sign they weren’t ready at that point, so it just kind of went from there. We said best of luck and went from there.”
Hudson called the Pirates a “good fit,” though recently it’s been a struggle.
Pittsburgh entered the series in Arizona in the midst of a four-game losing streak with Hudson suffering the loss two nights earlier at the Dodgers. Overall, he’s 0-2 with seven holds yet has allowed 12 earned runs in 14.1 innings covering 17 appearances.
Hudson is hoping to be summoned out of the bullpen during the series in Arizona. He didn’t make an appearance Thursday in the series opener.
“It would be nice to get out there on the mound and face these guys,” he said. “I don’t know how much fun it will be for us. I guess the lineup is hitting pretty well at home from what I hear, so it will be a challenge for us but I’m looking forward to it.”
Hudson was one of the first Pirates players on the field for batting practice. He exchanged handshakes and hugs with a handful of former teammates, including Nick Ahmed, Chris Owings and David Peralta.
He still keeps an eye on the D-backs.
“I do it every night. It’s hard not to. You spend so much time in one spot. You root for them to do well, except for, obviously, this weekend. Hopefully, we can get a couple of these games,” he said. “I do it every night. You get done with our game on the east coast and the first thing I do is pick up my phone and see how the Diamondbacks are doing. I’m enjoying following it. They’re having a good season so far. It’s been fun to watch.”
— Despite seven innings of one-run ball in Wednesday’s win over Detroit, right-hander Zack Godley has not yet solidified his spot in the rotation. Discussions are ongoing regarding the No. 5 starter, according to manager Torey Lovullo.
“We want to, obviously, make a decision as soon as possible, we want to make sure it’s the right decision and he’s done everything he possibly can to make sure that he’s the guy for the next time,” he said. “Those are the obvious factors, but there’s some other things that we have to consider as well.”
Lovullo wouldn’t say what those other things were, but he did acknowledge wanting stability in that spot.
“We’re not looking to reinvent the wheel or be so creative that we can’t give up what’s going to happen, but for the time being right now we’re still discussing some of our options.”
— Asked about the current health of the team, specifically whether the recent illness that had filtered through the clubhouse was gone, Lovullo mentioned starter Taijuan Walker. Apparently, Walker was not feeling well prior to his start in Colorado.
“I failed to mention that because I didn’t want to give a competitive advantage to the opposition,” Lovullo said, “but the sickness has seemed to work through our clubhouse and everybody is feeling good.”
Walker was tagged for three runs, one earned, in 5.2 innings in a 3-2 loss to the Rockies.
— For the second time in four games, Yasmany Tomas was not in the starting lineup. Daniel Descalso got the nod in left field.
“I just liked the idea of having a left-handed bat in there,” Lovullo said. “Nothing against Yaz. He’s been swinging the bat pretty well, I know he had a big home run last night, but it was about somebody on the bench getting an opportunity to play and help us win a ballgame.”