Giants RHP Hudson says he'll be ready by opener

DON KETCHUM Associated Press Published:

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Tucked in the corner of the San Francisco Giants' spring training clubhouse are side-by-side lockers belonging to the four stars of the starting rotation -- Tim Lincecum, Tim Hudson, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner.

At 38, Hudson is the newcomer to the group, having signed a two-year, $23 million free-agent contract in November.

He has pitched in the major leagues for 15 seasons -- his first six with the Oakland Athletics and then nine with the Atlanta Braves. He is nine years older than Lincecum and Cain and 14 years older than Bumgarner.

Yet the right-hander already seems to fit in nicely with his new teammates. With 205 career victories, he is a welcome addition.

The only lingering question is the status of his right ankle, badly fractured on July 24 while he was covering first base against the New York Mets and stepped on by runner Eric Young Jr. The injury ended Hudson's season with an 8-7 record.

After reporting with other pitchers and catchers to the Giants' camp at Scottsdale Stadium on Friday and taking his physical, Hudson said he will be ready to make his first regular-season start on time, either against the Arizona Diamondbacks or the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Health-wise, I'm right on schedule," Hudson said. "I will be ready for the start of the season ... the ankle feels really good, close to 100 percent, but we're not quite there yet."

Hudson threw three bullpen sessions before coming to camp and is due to throw his first official session for the team on Sunday.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy is looking forward to seeing Hudson throw.

"I talked to him yesterday, and right now, we are planning to pitch him in that first game (regular season)," Bochy said. "We are going to monitor his time on the field (during the spring) and not have him stand around on that ankle too much."

Hudson said he doesn't think about the ankle at all.

"The next few weeks will give us a good gauge of where it's at," he said.

When teams come to San Francisco, Hudson said, "They know they will be facing tough starting pitching. It's as good as it gets. I just want to come in and contribute."

Having his fellow starting pitchers close by this spring will be beneficial, he added.

"It's important, because we can work on our craft together," he said.

Hudson wore a sweat shirt with his college alma mater, Auburn, on the front. It was pointed out that his catcher this season will be Buster Posey, a Florida State alum.

Florida State edged Auburn earlier this year for the college football championship.

"Everybody has their faults," Hudson said, smiling.

NOTES: OF Hunter Pence reported early as he recovers from a case of pink eye, similar to what sportscaster Bob Costas is experiencing at the Winter Olympics. Pink eye is a bacterial or viral infection. ... Hitting coach Hensley Meulens became a U.S. citizen during a ceremony in Oakland earlier this week. He is a native of the Dutch island of Curacao. ... 3B coach Tim Flannery moved through the clubhouse with ice strapped to his right knee after recent surgery. ... The arrivals of Ps Santiago Casilla and Jose DePaula have been delayed by visa issues in the Dominican Republic. ... Bochy met with his coaching staff for two hours, going over a few changes that will be implemented in camp workouts.