PHOENIX Daniel Hudson did more than throw 30 pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday. He threw off some nagging doubts.
Hudson pitched from a mound for the first time in 19 days at Chase Field in early afternoon, and the results were encouraging, helping to allay the natural questions and fears confronted by any pitcher with an arm injury.
"The biggest step where you are dealing with something like this is the first time you throw and the first time you get off the mound," Hudson said.
"You have some bad thoughts going through you mind. 'What happens if this happens?' For the arm to feel as good as it did today is a huge positive. Its one more step closer."
Hudson, a 16-game winner in his first full season in the majors in 2011, has been on the disabled list with a shoulder impingement retroactive to April 19, a day after pitching with shoulder pain while going 7 23 innings against Pittsburgh. Hudson said he first felt tightness the day after his start in 42-degree Denver on April 13.
He is scheduled to throw at least one more bullpen session, manager Kirk Gibson said, before facing hitters. Depending on how his arm recovers from Tuesday's session, Hudson could face hitters as soon as Sunday. After that he will begin a program to raise his pitch count to the point he could return to the rotation, perhaps as early as the end of the month.
"Its hard, especially because its the first time dealing with anything like this," Hudson said.
"To go out there and try to be as positive as possible (and) take little steps. For me, I always want to go, go, go. Its trying to temper that attitude and take the positives as they come and not really worry too much about the negatives, even though I didnt have too many negative aspects in this whole process."
Asked if he felt any soreness, he said, "Not really. Everything feels pretty good."
Gibson and several of his staff worked into the early morning hours plotting scenarios for the starting rotation moving forward, with an eye toward Hudsons return.
The D-backs are tentatively scheduled to stay in rotation around an off-day on Thursday, which Gibson prefers, but he did say "dont hold me to it" when asked. If the D-backs stay in turn, Patrick Corbin, Trevor Cahill and Joe Saunders would start the three games against San Francisco this weekend and Ian Kennedy would not pitch.
"When 'Huddy' comes back, that would be when we might reorganize some things," Gibson said. Follow Jack Magruder on Twitter