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10/10/07 7:21 PM ET
Hudson working toward possible return
Thumb could be sufficiently healed if D-backs make Series
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- It may be a little early for the D-backs to begin thinking about the World Series, but it's never too early for Orlando Hudson.
Arizona's always ebullient All-Star second baseman said before Wednesday's pre-National League Championship Series workout at Chase Field that he wasn't discounting a return to the active roster if his team makes it to the next round. Hudson had surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb exactly a month ago.
"I'm not counting it out," Hudson told reporters from MLB.com and the Associated Press in the clubhouse on the eve of Thursday's Game 1 in the best-of-seven series against the Rockies. "Even if I had two broken legs, I wouldn't count it out."
Hudson injured the thumb on Sept. 4 against the Padres, sliding into third base headfirst on the front end of a seventh-inning double steal, smashing the thumb into the base. The surgery was conducted on Sept. 10 and the prognosis at the time was for a six-to-eight-week recovery, meaning that D-backs management figured Hudson would be ready in time for Spring Training.
But if the NL West-winning D-backs vanquish their division rivals in the NLCS, the World Series wouldn't start in either Boston or Cleveland until Oct. 24, giving Hudson another two weeks -- six weeks total -- to increase the strength in his thumb and work himself back into baseball shape.
Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said though that possibility was unlikely, there was indeed a "window" of opportunity for Hudson to return, even if it was just in a limited role.
"It's not entirely realistic because we're just running out of time, although he is recovering well from surgery," Byrnes said. "I don't want to say, 'Absolutely not,' but he hasn't done anything baseball-related. He's just started running. But there is a window. I'm not closing it completely."
The injury to Hudson, who won Gold Glove Awards in both 2005 and '06, was considered at the time to be a possibly devastating blow to Arizona's chances of winning the division and making the playoffs. But just like season-ending injuries to Randy Johnson and Chad Tracy, the D-backs weathered Hudson's loss, clinching a playoff spot and the NL West title during the final weekend of the regular season in Colorado.
With Augie Ojeda playing second base, the D-backs swept the Cubs in their best-of-five NL Division Series as the 32-year-old journeyman went 4-for-9.
Meanwhile, Hudson had his Sedona red colored cast removed from his left hand on Oct. 2 and has been responding to therapy very nicely since then.
"It's feeling pretty good, man," said Hudson, who finished the season hitting .294 with 28 doubles, nine triples, 10 homers, 63 RBIs and 69 runs scored. "I'm just having [the trainers] work it out and keeping it loose -- just keep going, seeing how things go. I'm going to start taking batting practice before we leave here [to go to Colorado], or at the least, when we get home."
And about playing in the World Series?
"I don't know, ask the man upstairs," he said. "I'll put it in his hands, bro. Ask and you shall receive."