Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson’s rehab assignment against the Charleston RiverDogs Saturday night brought out a big crowd as 6,089 fans jammed The Joe. It also brought out the best from the RiverDogs, who topped the Rome Braves, 2-1.
Hudson, a three-time all-star, allowed four hits, two for extra bases, in three innings of work. Hudson allowed two runs — one earned.
“I felt good tonight,” said Hudson, who is coming off surgery in the offseason to repair a herniated disk in his back. “The kids came out swinging. That’s good to see. You can’t walk to the major leagues. You have to hit.”
The RiverDogs’ Tyler Austin tripled in the first inning and Gary Sanchez doubled in the second. Dante Bichette Jr. collected the other two hits, both infield singles.
Hudson faced 13 batters and threw 38 pitches — 25 for strikes. He walked one and didn’t record a strikeout.
He said he didn’t mind his temporary return to the minors.
“I got to see a lot of hunger and a lot of passion in their faces,” he said. “It reminded me of when I was trying to get to the big leagues. It makes you feel a little younger.”
Major leaguers who have had recent rehab pitching assignments in Charleston include Phil Hughes (Yankees), Carl Pavano (former Yankee and current Twin) and Jon Lester (Red Sox).
The 36-year-old Hudson has pitched in the majors for 13 years and owns a 181-97 record with 1,699 strikeouts and a 3.40 ERA.
Hudson, who is expected to return to the Braves in May, said he is close to 100 percent and perhaps could have pitched another inning Saturday.
“I felt pretty strong in the third,” he said. “Right now, it’s a matter of making pitches, making the off-speed pitches.”
RiverDogs pitchers got the job done all night.
Rome managed only three hits off three RiverDog pitchers. Starter Caleb Cotham pitched four innings and allowed one hit and one run. He walked three and struck out three.
Wilson Rodriguez pitched three innings and was credited with the victory.
The RiverDogs and Braves conclude the opening series with a 5 p.m. game today. Right-hander A.J. Holland gets the start for the Braves. He will face right-hander Brian Mitchell.
The RiverDogs host the Augusta GreenJackets in a three-game series that begins Monday and concludes Wednesday. All three games start at 7 p.m.
Today’s game marks the first “Dog Day” of the year.
Lowcountry Parent magazine will host Kids’ Opening Day. The first 1,000 kids through the turnstiles will receive a T-shirt.
Kids will also eat free at the park because it will be Charleston Parks and Recreation Commission’s Family Sunday. Parking will be free and kids can play catch on the field prior to the game.