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Daniel Hudson wants ‘a few games under my belt this year’ with Arizona Diamondbacks

PHOENIX — You don’t need to remind Daniel Hudson what day it is.

“It’s a year since I had my last surgery,” he said, “and then eight days from now is two years since I last threw in a big league game. But who’s counting, right?”

Hudson smiled at that last comment.

The 27-year-old right-hander continues to make progress, albeit slow progress, following a second Tommy John surgery a year ago Wednesday, which came just 11 months after having the same procedure performed on his elbow the first time.

And yes, June 26 will mark two years to the day Hudson last started a major league game, an 8-1 loss in Atlanta.

“There’s really not much to say about it,” he said, thinking about the 730 days that have since passed. “It is what it is and hopefully I can put that behind me and never have to worry about it again.”

Hudson is doing his part, throwing “a whole bunch of bullpens. I just recently started to mix in all my pitches, probably the last three or four, sliders, change-ups and everything.”

“We’re being pretty cautious about it,” he added.

The good news, according to Hudson, is that he’s experienced no soreness in the twice-operated on right elbow.

The hope, he said, is to face hitters soon and then progress to the point where he can go out on a rehab assignment with the goal of returning this season. But he would return as a reliever, ending a four-year run as a starter, where he went 28-17 with a 3.66 ERA.

“I would hope I would be back out there,” said Hudson, who won 16 games with the Diamondbacks in 2011. “Still not sure about when that would be, but I would hope at least get a few games under my belt this year, get in a good place, go into the offseason and have a nice normal offseason to recover and go into spring training 100 percent healthy.”

After last season, the Diamondbacks non-tendered Hudson, making him a free agent. Both sides though wanted to continue the relationship, and a minor league deal was soon agreed upon only a few weeks later.

“I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t try it again,” he said, while also mentioning the support he’s received from the organization and his family has helped keep him going. “Me kind of being who I am, it’s kind of helped me put things in perspective and maybe learn to appreciate other things as far as taking (the rehab) slower and appreciating the game from a teammate standpoint a little bit more this time because I know that there’s no set date, like the year marker that most guys try to get back by. It just kind of helps me slow myself down a little bit and appreciate being a teammate and being there for these guys because they were there for me last year.”

Perhaps a silver lining to all the baseball time he has missed, Hudson will soon have a new date ingrained in his memory bank.

“(My wife and I) got a baby coming next month,” he said.

The couple is expecting their first child, a girl, on July 21.

“Just getting stuff ready for her and everything like that it’s kind of been pretty good for me to be around for a lot of that,” he said.