Fans chatted online with Braves ace and Georgia native Tim Hudson, who was traded in December to the team he grew up cheering for. Hudson discussed facing National League hitters, his contract status and stepping up to the plate.Tim Hudson: Hey everybody. This is Tim. I've been looking forward to this, so let's get started. choppinmama: Tim, welcome to Atlanta. You're going to have a great time playing for us! Should John Smoltz and Mike Hampton feel any Silver Slugger Award pressure from you this year? Hudson: Probably not. It's been a while since I picked up a bat. You don't get a lot of swings in the American League. When you did get a chance, you spend a lot of time healing the blisters. I'm just hoping to get some bunts down this year. junebug404: Tim, we're going to miss you big time in Oakland. The A's came close year after year, which playoff meltdown was the most painful for you? Hudson: They are all very painful. But the most would definitely be the one against Boston (in 2003), when I got injured during my start. We had them down 2-0 and were in position to win. I felt like I let the team and the fans down. So that was definitely the toughest for me personally. coopdog: Welcome aboard! How will you prepare for NL hitters you've never seen and what will it take to keep you here? Hudson: It's going to be a different type of game. There's a lot of small ball in the National League. I'm going to have to trust the scouting reports and trust both Leo Mazzone and some of the NL veterans like Smoltzie. As far as staying in Atlanta, that's something I'm going to discusss with my family. We couldn't be more happy right now. If I had a choice, I'd like to play here for a long time to come. Hopefully before Spring Training we can get together and get something worked out so I can be here and help this team win for many years to come. 1bravedawg: What kind of things do you like to do outside of baseball? Hudson: Baseball takes up a lot of your time. Usually, with any of my spare time, I like to spend it with my children. As far as hobbies, I like to golf, hunt and fish. The big thing is family time because during the season your time is spread thin. 1bravedawg: Since you grew up a Braves fan, who were your favorite Braves when you were a kid? Hudson: I was a huge fan of Smoltz, (Greg) Maddux and (Tom) Glavine. I'm still a big fan of them. I also really liked David Justice and Ron Gant and was fortunate to play with both of them in Oakland. It's hard to really pick out one favorite player or team. It was such a magical run and a lot of fun to watch. supernova1221: How do you think the new starting pitching staff will be and do you think you will have better numbers here with the Braves than you had with the A's? Hudson: It's hard to say. In the NL, you do get to pitch against the pitchers. Still, from top to bottom, they're all big league-caliber hitters. I just hope I can improve every year. That's what I try to do every year. Once I learn the NL, I hope to improve and keep getting better. I do feel that my style of pitching has gotten better every year. I don't ever want to be content with where I'm at. I just want to keep getting better every day. 1bravedawg: What did you miss the most about the South when you were in Oakland? Hudson: Probably my mom's country cooking. Obviously the West Coast and South are different. But both have their great things. I really do like how friendly people are here in the South. We enjoyed our time on the West Coast, but it's definitely good to be back. Kristen_Tirc: I am a die-hard Mets fan that has followed the Oakland Athletics for five years now. What are your thoughts on Rick Peterson and the job he has done with you, (Barry) Zito, (Mark) Mulder and (Rich) Harden? Hudson: I think he's a great pitching coach, especially with young pitchers. People think it's a little crazy way to approach pitching, but I loved it. He definitely helped me out a lot when I was pitching under him. I think every young pitcher will benefit from it. He did great with everybody in Oakland and I'm sure he'll do the same with the guys with the Mets. clearwall: Tim, your career ERA is 3.40, but you're coming to a team with, traditionally, far less offense than you have experienced in the past. Do you think you will still be able to win with less run support than you've come accustomed to in Oakland? Hudson: It's not like we knocked the walls down in Oakland. Our strength was pitching and we seemed to score just enough to win. I'm excited about our offense here and I think we'll score more runs here than in Oakland. I think everyone will have good numbers this year. chipperfanintn: The history of the "Big Three" in Oakland speaks for itself, but how do you feel about the opportunity to work with Leo Mazzone? How do you think he can improve your game? Hudson: I'm excited. He obviously has a lot of knowledge from working with Glavine, Maddux and Smoltz. I'm just excited to pick his brain. I don't really know what the philosophy is, but I'm just excited to see how he can help me get better. Hopefully he can help paint those corners like Maddux did. clearwall: How excited are you seeing the team form like it is, with John Schuerholz signing (Brian) Jordan and (Raul) Mondesi in the outfield? Hudson: When I got traded, the outfield had some holes. John has a great reputation making things happen and I'm happy to see both Raul and Brian here. I'm excited just to play under Schuerholz. I've heard a lot of great things about him. There's obviously something special here and I'm just happy to be a part of it. clearwall: What do you consider your best and worst pitch? What do you like to throw in certain situations? Hudson: I'm a sinkerball pitcher and I love throwing the fastball. My best pitch is a well located sinker. My worst is anything that isn't located well. Anything up and over the plate isn't good for anybody. Kristen_Tirc: The Braves have had an unbelievable run at winning the division, but never quite make it to the end. Do you think you may be the final piece in putting together a championship team? Hudson: I don't think any one person can determine whether a team wins a championship. There are a lot of pieces that have to come together. I just hope to add some good team chemistry and help this team win every time I take the mound. bravobravo19: Hey Tim! First of all, glad to have you aboard and I wish you nothing but the absolute best this season. My question is, how do you think this rotation in Atlanta compares to the great rotations you were a part of in Oakland? Hudson: It's a great rotation. Hampton and Smoltz are two of the best pitchers in the league. (John) Thomson and (Horacio) Ramirez are real good as well. There's a lot of potential to have a great rotation here. It was always fun with those great rotations we had in Oakland. I'm just as excited to see this one in Atlanta, which I think can be as good as any in baseball, if not better. I'm looking forward to learning from my new teammates. They're all very talented. sheffieldrocks: What is your favorite park to pitch in? Hudson: Any big league stadium is exciting. My favorite would probably be either Yankee Stadium or in Seattle, where they have great fans. What better thing is there than to go into Yankee Stadium and beat them? Susan_Duran: Which, if any, of the Braves players have you talked to since the trade and what kind of advice/tales did they give you about coming to Atlanta? Hudson: I haven't really talked to any of the guys yet. Marcus Giles is really the only guy I know. I met him and his brother at a charity softball event. I'm just looking forward to meeting all of these guys. I feel like a rookie coming up for the first time again. I'm just hoping we can have good team camaraderie because that really helps you win. I'm just looking to add to it. backefan41: Who most influenced your pitching style? Hudson: I grew up watching Maddux and Pedro (Martinez) pitch. I guess any small right-hander who was doing well in the Majors. That was always the hit on me -- that I was a small right-hander. So I used to love watching them carve guys up and I tried to learn what I could from them on television. Susan_Duran: What significance does the No. 15 have for you? Hudson: It was a number I got issued at Auburn. In high school and junior college, I wore 18. But at Auburn it was taken. I've been able to keep it ever since, except my rookie year when I had to settle for 52. It's been a good number for me and I'm glad to have it once again in Atlanta. Hudson: Thanks everybody for chatting today. I'm looking forward to getting things started in Spring Training. Take care and once again, thanks for your questions today.
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