PHOENIX– Daniel Hudson, closer?
The Arizona Diamondbacks might just find out.
The right-handed pitcher came in and shut the door for his first career save Sunday against the San Francisco Giants.
With the momentous occasion came a special memento — the game ball from his first save.
“Once I realized it was a save situation, I knew I hadn’t gotten one of those before and it was good,” Hudson told Bickey and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “(Paul Goldschmidt) had that last out and kind of tossed (the ball) to me and I gave it to Roger, our clubhouse guy. He’s holding on to it until we get home.”
It was a different pressure for Hudson, who has spent most of his career as a starter.
“It’s definitely a different rush,” Hudson said. “As a starter, you kind of get those pregame jitters and maybe in the first, even second inning things kind of manage your emotions a little bit. (Sunday was) maybe one of the first few times that I’ve come in with inherited runners, especially in the ninth inning. I’ve never done that before.”
Hudson said he was determined not to let nerves get to him.
“A little heart-pounding, a little bit more than usual,” Hudson said. “I just told myself to just try to stay in the moment and not to do too much.”
With the new situation comes a new approach on the mound for Hudson.
“It’s different with the way you got to attack hitters,” Hudson said. “I had a rough little stretch there at the end of April, early May where I had a couple rough outings. I think I had a bit of a starter’s mentality early on where I was trying to establish my fastball a little too much.”
Hudson made his return to the major leagues this season after two Tommy John surgeries in recent years.
Hudson, who has shifted from middle reliever to long reliever to spot starter to setup man this season, may just have found a new role for this D-backs pitching staff.
What the future holds for Hudson is up to the Diamondbacks organization and manager Chip Hale.
“I’m getting the hang of this relieving thing, I’ve had a good little string of games here and I’m just trying to take the ball whenever they call me down there and tell me I get the next inning,” Hudson said. “I would like to get back to being in the rotation at some point, but really haven’t crossed that bridge yet.”
Hudson and the Diamondbacks travel to Anaheim, Calif. to face the Angels Monday, with first pitch scheduled at 7:05 p.m. MST.