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Diamondbacks manager looking forward to seeing Daniel Hudson ‘build the pitch count up a little more’

LISTEN: Chip Hale, D-backs manager

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Daniel Hudson made his first spring training start in three years on Sunday, and he only gave up an infield single while striking out one batter in two scoreless innings.

The Diamondbacks went on to handily beat San Francisco 10-5 in a split-squad game.

Other than three brief appearances in 2014, Hudson hasn’t been on the mound for the D-backs on a consistent basis in the regular season since the 2012 campaign.

He’s undergone two Tommy John surgeries since that time.

The 28-year-old hurler has a long way to go toward becoming a regular starter again, but new Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale is optimistic about the right-hander’s 2015 outlook.

“I think he feels great,” Hale told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday. “He threw a bullpen (Tuesday), and the reports were good. Health-wise, he was great. We’re looking forward to seeing him get back out there and build the pitch count up a little more.”

Hudson’s strongest complete season was 2011, during which he made 33 starts and went 16-12 with a 3.49 ERA over 222.0 innings pitched.

He was even more impressive as he finished out the previous season with the D-backs after being traded by the Chicago White Sox. In 11 starts for Arizona in 2010, he posted a staggering 7-1 record and 1.69 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 79.2 innings pitched.

“When you get (into) talking about guys who have double Tommy Johns, and you’re looking about everything about their game, and the next day after they pitch and, ‘Can they lift their arm?'” Hale said. “He seemed to be OK. He had the normal soreness that guys do; I think it was more body soreness than arm soreness. So, just to throw that bullpen is a big step.”

A 90-inning limit for Hudson in 2015 was brought up, but Hale said the team hasn’t put a cap on his innings or pitch count yet. The skipper did say the team will be careful about how quickly he’s brought back into the fold and how often he’ll be used.

“When we decide whether’s he’s going to start or relieve, we’ll have to decide, if he’s a reliever, how many days between the times he pitches and can he go back to back, and all that stuff is important,” the first-year manager said. “We’ll figure out a number, but I think it’s more going to be on Daniel’s feel: He’s really going to be involved in it.”

Hale sounded committed to the idea that Hudson could start some games for the team this season.

“He’s a pretty devastating guy,” the skipper said. “To have him pitch every fifth day, even if it were for five innings, would be pretty special. So, we’ll figure it out.”