Found January 27, 2013 on Fox Sports South:
ATLANTA The belt hangs in Tim Hudsons locker in the Braves clubhouse, black leather with silver adornments, a WWE-style trophy proclaiming its owner the A.B.F.L. (Atlanta Braves Football League) Heavyweight Champion. Its a title Hudson has held onto the last two years as the winner of teams fantasy football league, but his streak and his season ended with a loss to closer Craig Kimbrel in the third-place game. Hudsons reign may be over but another title has been bestowed upon him. With the retirement of Chipper Jones, the 37-year-old is now the senior-most player on the Braves roster. Yeah, its kind of funny, Im the oldest guy on the team now, Hudson said. I still feel like Im one of the guys. Im young at heart even though Im a little long in the tooth. I still feel like I can go out there and hang with the young guys even though Im not a young guy anymore. With 14 major-league seasons under his belt, including eight in Atlanta, Hudson has become one of the teams unquestioned leaders. He jokes around, hes fun, Kimbrel said, but when its time to get on the field, when its time to play, hes the biggest competitor we have in the clubhouse. Its just leading by example. Hes got that loose feel . . . you dont have to be uptight all the time but when its time to go, its time to go out there and do your job and I feel like thats a great mentality to have. Added reliever Jonny Venters: He knows what its like to be on a winning team . . . it really comes natural to him, the way he leads by example. Hes pretty special. Hudson is coming off a season in which he left little doubt whether he can still be special on the mound as well. He bounced back from offseason back surgery to go 16-7 the eighth time in his career he has won at least 15 games and the third straight with a 3.62 ERA in 28 starts in 2012. Thats because Hudson continues to do what Hudson does. While he has never been a strikeout machine just three times in his career has he had more than 162 Ks hes still one of the games premier groundball pitchers, posting a 55.5 groundball rate last year, which ranked seventh in the majors and fourth in the National League. As Braves.coms Mark Bowman pointed out, over the past six seasons only Matt Cain, Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia and Adam Wainwright boast better ERAs than Hudsons 3.24 with at least 150 starts. Hes gone 105-65 with the Braves, averaging a 3.52 ERA, with just one year in which hes posted an ERA over 4.0. Still, for his consistencies, there are questions surrounding whats a critical year in Hudsons career. Hell be 38 in July and a free agent after the Braves exercised the 9 million club option on Hudson for this season. Plus, last season his fastball averaged 89 miles per hour, the lowest of his career. He countered it by throwing his slider 20.6 percent of the time, his highest rate ever and one that has increased in each of the last three seasons (14.6 in 10; 19.9 in 11). But Hudson isnt thinking ahead or approaching this season any differently with an uncertain future ahead of him. Instead hes focusing on his place as a front-line starter in a staff that includes Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Paul Maholm and a No. 5 spot that should be the most-watched battle of the spring. I just go about my business all the same, he said. I prepare myself every offseason to go out there and try and do the best I can and give the team a good chance to win whether its a contract year or not. Nobody expects more out of me than myself. This year is going to be no different than any other one. Hudson, who joined the Braves in 2005 as a free agent after spending six seasons with the Athletics, has been heavily involved in the Atlanta community. He and wife Kim launched the Hudson Family Foundation in 09, its mission to impact the lives of children who have a genuine need for assistance with regard to a specific physical, emotional or financial circumstance. He and his family are tied to Atlanta and Hudson says this is where he wants to end his career. It would be tough to play someplace else, he said. But you have to understand this is a business and we have some really good young arms coming up in this organization, and if I feel like Im still on top of my game and healthy, I obviously feel like I can give this organization hopefully a few more good years of time on the mound. He may no longer be the Braves fantasy football champion, but Hudson may not have to worry about seeing that belt in someone else's locker, either. The current champion, shortstop Jack Wilson, retired after last season. Im not sending it to him, Hudson said, laughing.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Michael Bourn’s List of Suitors is Shrinking, Where Will He Land?

Michael Bourn remains unsigned as the start of spring training gets closer and closer. He is the top position player that has not found a home. As the list of possible teams that will make a run for him gets smaller I will try and tell you who will finally give this speedy centerfielder the … Continue reading »

Braves notebook: Medlen pulls out of WBC

Team USA planned on featuring more Atlanta flavor on its roster in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, but the list has been whittled down to one: Craig Kimbrel. After initially accepting an invite to the club, starter Kris Medlen, whose historic run last season catapulted him into the upper echelon of National League pitchers, informed Team USA manager Joe Torre that he will not...

Justin Upton criticized by Diamondbacks staffer

Justin Upton is now an Atlanta Brave yet Arizona Diamondbacks staffer and former player Luis Gonzalez can’t stop talking about him after the blockbuster trade.   Please Click Here To Read This Story The post Justin Upton criticized by Diamondbacks staffer appeared first on Players View Dot Net

Prado’s Braves teammates will miss him

dancing in BP, generally being awesome It's comforting to know Prado's former teammates love him as much as the fans do. Sad to see everyone's fav teammate go, but all smiles as a pitcher looking over my shoulder! Can't wait. #Braves — Brandon Beachy (@Brandon_Beachy) January 24, 2013 .@jasonheyward on Martin Prado: “He’s a great teammate, great person on-...

Michael Bourn vs. #11 pick: A 100-player sample

The debate rages on whether or not the Mets should forfeit their first-round pick, the #11 selection overall, in order to sign free agent Michael Bourn. Those in favor of the move point out that Bourn would address a major need for the Mets while those opposed think the club is unlikely to contend while Bourn would be good and that the club would be better off continuing its youth...

Baker signs with Rangers

The last remaining right handed outfielder has signed with the Rangers, it's been reported that Jeff Baker has agreed to a minor league deal with Texas.  Now I'm not saying Baker would be an improvement over who the Mets have but like I've been saying all along if you can't make a significant upgrade then bring in multiple candidates to compete for the positions...

Recently traded Justin Upton wants fans to help choose new Twitter handle

Tweet   The Arizona Diamondbacks had seemingly pondered the idea of trading young, talented outfielder Justin Upton forever. Last week it finally happened. Arizona shipped Upton to the Atlanta Braves in a trade that included the super versatile Martin Prado heading the opposite direction. The Braves now boast one of MLB’s best outfields with Jason [...]

Phillies to sign Durbin in a move that strengthens bullpen

Chad Durbin to return Pending a physical Chad Durbin will return to the Phillies bullpen for the 2013 season. Durbin who was a huge part of the Phillies in 2008 had a solid season last year with the Atlanta Braves. With the Braves Durbin posted a career high in appearances posting an ERA in the 3′s. Durbin is getting a one-year deal with the Phillies. Great move for a bullpen that...

Vince Coleman or Roger Cedeno? Or could Michael Bourn be different?

The Mets may or may not be interested in free agent OF Michael Bourn. It is safe to say the amount of interest has to do with how much of a chance the Mets have of having their first round draft pick in this year’s draft (11th overall). While Bourn would give the Mets a major league outfielder they do not have, there may be some questions about how a player who relies solely on...

The Bridge To Lidge Is Back

Image of Zimbio As reported yesterday, the Phillies have announced this morning that they have signed reliever Chad Durbin. The former "Bridge to Lidge" has signed a one year deal, with an option for 2014.  The 35 year old is coming off an impressive year with Atlanta Braves. He held a 4-1 record, with a 3.10 ERA.  Chad pitched for the Phillies from 2008-2010. 

Chad Durbin And Phillies Agree to Terms to Reunite

Photo: Philliedelphia/ Steve Trapani The deal is done. As first reported here yesterday morning and soon thereafter plagiarized by Rant Sports, former Phillies pitcher and 2008 World Series champion reliever Chad Durbin will return to the Phillies. Todd Zolecki reports that the deal, pending physical, is a one-year agreement and...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.