Feeling fresh, Hudson eyes late April return

Feeling fresh, Hudson eyes late April return

ATLANTA -- With two more Minor League rehab starts scheduled before he is activated from the disabled list, Tim Hudson believes he is in better shape than he would have been two weeks before his regular-season debut in a normal season.

"I actually feel better," Hudson said. "I feel like my body is in better shape because I did have six weeks of Spring Training to get in shape, even though I wasn't pitching. I wasn't down there just playing golf and eating donuts. I feel better physically than I normally do."

Hudson made steady progress through Spring Training and received his wish to complete two innings during the Braves' final Spring Training game in Florida. The 36-year-old veteran has since made two rehab starts for Class-A Rome. He will take the mound at Coolray Field on Wednesday night to make the first of his final two rehab starts with Triple-A Gwinnett.

Hudson is aiming to rejoin the Braves rotation for the April 29 game against the Pirates. He believes the back surgery he underwent on Nov. 28 will allow him to realize the relief he was not feeling the past couple years when he was having trouble with normal activities like tying his shoes.

"It's like night and day with how I feel," Hudson said. "Right now, I'm more concerned about getting my work done on the side and location and effectiveness of my pitches than I am my health. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think that's behind me. I don't even think about my back and all of that."