NEW YORK – Tim Hudson is out for the season with a broken right ankle, leaving the Atlanta Braves without the leader of their pitching staff as they make a push for the pennant.
The team said Hudson will have season-ending surgery in Atlanta after the swelling subsides. The right-hander was injured Wednesday night when Eric Young Jr. of the New York Mets inadvertently stepped on the back of Hudsons lower right leg while the pitcher was covering first base.
I think weve got to rally behind this, as a team and as a pitching staff, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Thursday. Were going to miss him, but weve got a good club.
Atlanta placed Hudson on the 15-day disabled list and recalled rookie left-hander Alex Wood from Triple-A Gwinnett to start against the Mets. Wood pitched in place of Paul Maholm, who has a bruised left wrist.
The NL East leaders had planned to put Maholm on the DL, but Hudsons injury opened a roster spot for Wood instead. Maholm could still end up on the disabled list, but the Braves decided to keep him active for now to see how quickly his condition improves.
Brandon Beachy is expected to replace Hudson in the rotation Monday night against Colorado.
I dont think you can replace Timmy, what he means to us, Gonzalez said. Well have a young rotation, but hell, you know what? Weve got to grow up sooner or later.
The timing hardly could have been worse for Hudson, who was pitching his best baseball of the season in the final year of his contract.
Anytime you lose a player his caliber its a tough pill to swallow, All-Star catcher Brian McCann said. Hes a top-of-the-rotation pitcher for us and its going to be hard to replace him. But at the same time, guys are going to need to step up and fill in.
Gonzalez said he told Hudson that he wants him around as much as possible to support his teammates – on crutches, in a walking boot, whatever.
Hudson, 38, was working on a four-hit shutout when he was injured. He struck out nine in 7 2/3 innings – his most since whiffing 10 Mets on June 17, 2011.
He finishes the season 8-7 with a 3.97 ERA after winning his final four starts.