PHOENIX — A classic confrontation it was not, though the matchup did attract a handful of teammates who watched from the top step of the third base dugout.
Manager Kirk Gibson was present, as was pitching coach Mike Harkey and hitting coach Turner Ward.
All eyes centered on the pitching mound and the right side of the batter’s box.
On the mound was right-hander Daniel Hudson who, for the first time since his second Tommy John surgery, was throwing to a hitter. And that hitter happened to be outfielder Mark Trumbo, facing live pitching for the second day in a row as he rehabs from a stress fracture in his left foot.
“It was hot, but it felt good to get back out there,” said Hudson, who mixed in all of his pitches in a 20-pitch effort with the Chase Field roof open. “First time in a year somebody’s tried to actually hit the ball off of me so it felt good to get out there and get some juices going.”
Added Trumbo about the at-bat, “I let it loose a little bit and his stuff was really, really sharp. (The ball) jumped out of his hand. I hadn’t seen him before so I definitely went away with a lot of appreciation for the stuff that he’s got.”
Neither player said they felt any pain afterwards, certainly a positive sign for both.
“That’s the first time I’m been on that mound in almost two years,” Hudson said, “so it felt good to just get out there and, like I said, face somebody trying to hit the ball off of me.”
Trumbo is further along in his recovery and hoped to be going on a rehab assignment soon. “I’m sure it’s not too far off on the horizon…maybe something as early as next week.”
He’ll run the bases for the first time on Wednesday and according to Gibson may return right around the All-Star break “if everything goes good.”
Hudson, meanwhile, could be looking at a September return.
“His mechanics are really good. He’s changed a lot since his last surgery,” said Gibson, explaining Hudson is putting less pressure on the elbow when he throws. “He looks extremely comfortable on the mound. His ball has got really good, explosive movement.”
Hudson now will be shut down for the next week, all part of the plan.
“That’s how (the medical staff) is doing it, taking extra time this year, building him up,” Gibson said. “He’ll play long toss, I think, the next week and then he’ll start back up. When he starts up again this next time, I think he’ll stay after it.”
Hudson, who last pitched in the majors on June 26, 2012, mentioned he feels better now compared to this time a year ago, you know, following the initial Tommy John surgery.
How much better? Well, he did throw inside to Trumbo a few times.
“That was the one thing I was kind of worried about,” Hudson said. “I didn’t want to hit him in the hand or anything like that. That would’ve been pretty bad since he’s coming back pretty soon, too, probably hopefully. But I had some decent command in there. Felt good.”