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Hudson skips start; G-Braves falter
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LAWRENCEVILLE – Tim Hudson tried to put a positive spin on having to miss what would have been his second rehab start with the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves.

But he’s all to aware that it couldn’t have come at a worse time as he tries to make it back to Atlanta before season’s end.
He was scheduled to pitch for the G-Braves on Friday after having a successful outing for Gwinnett (59-48) earlier this week, but pain in his groin while warming up in the bullpen brought an end to those plans.

Jonny Venters, originally scheduled to pitch in relief of Hudson, was thrown into the starter’s role at the last minute. In fact, the game start was delayed for 10 minutes to allow Venters enough time to properly warm-up.

Venters wound up allowing three earned runs over five innings and the G-Braves lost 4-2 to the Rochester Red Wings (50-54) at Gwinnett Stadium.

Even with the spur-of-the-moment start, the second inning was the only rocky patch for Venters as he retired the side in order in the first and third innings and got timely defensive help in the fourth. With the bases loaded, Chris Burke helped Gwinnett get out of the inning with a leaping catch at shortstop that saved at least two runs.

However, the Red Wings got all the runs they needed in the second on a leadoff double from Justin Huber and two-out singles from Trevor Plouffe, Matt Macri, Brock Peterson and Jason Pridie. Plouffe also drove in a run in the seventh inning for Rochester.
“He only had that one bad inning but we were able to come back after that,” Brundage added.

Gwinnett scored both runs in the third inning. Burke connected on a solo home run, and Reid Gorecki had an RBI double that scored Brooks Conrad.

However, late in the game Gwinnett’s offense was sluggish with a string of six consecutive strikeouts starting in the fifth inning. It continued when Rochester relief pitcher Juan Morillo entered the game in the sixth and was throwing 100 miles per hour sporadically on the radar gun.

“When you run into a guy that’s throwing it 100 like he was, you just have to tip your cap to them,” Brundage added. “That’s the best I’ve seen him throw.”

“Jonny had to go spur of the moment but he was ready,” G-Braves manager Dave Brundage said. “Given the circumstances, he handled it well.”

Hudson made the decision not to pitch the final game of the four-game series against the Red Wings as a precautionary measure to avoid a more serious groin injury.

“I just don’t want something small to turn into something big,” Hudson said. “I still feel like I’ll be able to throw, I just wanted to pull the reins back on going game speed.

“I don’t think it’s anything serious.”

Hudson says that the pain on the left side of his groin steadily became more apparent while he was throwing in the bullpen prior to the game. Eventually, the pain started to wear on his mechanics.

His next scheduled outing was to be for the Single-A Rome Braves next Wednesday, but he will likely miss that start pending the outcome of a physical evaluation.

For Hudson, this is the first injury to his legs. He says the injury is especially frustrating as a pitcher that generates most of his velocity in the lower half of his body.

“We’ll treat it and do some therapy on it,” Hudson added. “At some point, I’ll throw in the bullpen to test it out.”

Hudson has made three rehab starts this season while trying to make it back to the majors after having Tommy John surgery in August 2008.

His last rehab outing was his most productive as he threw four innings and allowed only four hits for the G-Braves against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Hudson’s first two rehab starts were for the Single-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Gwinnett starts a four-game series at the Columbus Clippers at 7 p.m. tonight in Columbus, Ohio. Jo-Jo Reyes (1-1, 4.35 ERA) will take the mound for the G-Braves.
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