Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 12/5/11
There wasn't a day during the 2011 season when Tim Hudson didn't have ice on his back. He attributed the constant stiffness to "getting old" -- he's 36. The problem, in fact, was a herniated disk, something he's been dealing with for the last two seasons. It's a measure of how tough he is that the information comes out only now -- and only because Hudson was having too much pain to go through his offseason workout. So he finally opted for surgery Nov. 28. Hudson threw a one-hit complete game shutout in the second game of a May 4 doubleheader, but his back stiffened during his May 20 start and he missed his next turn. An MRI then showed no damage to his sore back -- or so the media was told -- and he started once again on May 30 versus the Padres. Other than his constantly wrapped back and the idea of it in the back of everyone's mind, it wasn't an issue. Especially since Hudson was the only starter pitching more than seven innings at a go. The more important thing, as the season went on, was an adjustment he made after his Sept. 11 start at St. Louis with the positioning of his heel against the pitching rubber. That gave late life to his sinker, making it look like a fastball. The only blip in his pitching after that was a start in unexpected humidity Sept. 23 at Washington. He needed five bags of intravenous fluids and five hours in the hospital to recover from dehydration. Hudson didn't prepare properly for the start because, given the weather forecast, he was expecting a long rain delay. Instead, the game started only 14 minutes late, giving him no time for his pregame eating and hydrating routine. Hudson finished the season with 16 wins. His 33 wins in 2010-11 were his best two-year total since he won 33 in 2001-02 with the A's. NOTES, QUOTES RHP Tim Hudson underwent surgery on Nov. 28 to repair a herniated disk in his back, something he'd been hoping to put off until his playing days are over. He is expected to be ready to take part in spring training as usual. RHP Jair Jurrjens' odds of being involved in a trade -- not huge to begin with, despite the chatter -- have lowered now that RHP Tim Hudson has undergone surgery to repair a herniated disk. Hudson is projected to be ready to pitch in spring training, but backs have a way of not sticking to the schedule. RHP Arodys Vizcaino, who just turned 21, will be an interesting project in spring training. A starter coming through the minors, he was moved to the Double-A Mississippi bullpen last season to cut down on his innings. Vizcaino sustained a partially torn elbow ligament after working a career-high 85 13 innings in 17 starts in 2010. It healed without surgery, but the Braves will be careful with him. He made his major league debut Aug. 10, in the ninth inning versus the Marlins. C David Ross is signed through 2012 -- as is C Brian McCann, for that matter. Ross has been a team leader, is the Braves' player rep and has proved to be a clutch hitter, not to mention a good defensive catcher and game-caller. Prospect Christian Bethancourt is in the wings but is probably more than a season away from the majors. BY THE NUMBERS: 33 -- Wins by RHP Tim Hudson in 2010-11, his best two-year total since he won 33 in 2001-02 with the A's. QUOTE TO NOTE "He's very close to being a big-league shortstop." --General manager Frank Wren, on prospect Tyler Pastornicky.
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