Hudson turns in effective outing during second start

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Braves veteran pitcher Tim Hudson has been around long enough to know there is not much reason to be concerned about how he feels more than a month before the start of the regular season, but it seems safe to say Hudson was not pleased following his three-inning effort in Wednesday's 5-3 win over the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium.

"Obviously the older you get, the tougher it gets," the 37-year-old Hudson said. "It is a process, but you don't want to go out there and give up [a bunch of hits] and back up third even though it's only the spring. You don't want to get embarrassed, but at the same time, you know you're going to be a lot better three weeks from now than you are now."

While limiting the Tigers to two runs and two hits in three innings, Hudson was certainly much more effective than his words might depict. He retired the final seven batters he faced, including the final five with ground-ball outs. Hudson's only damage came in the first inning, when he surrendered a two-out single to Miguel Cabrera and then allowed Prince Fielder to drill a monstrous two-run home run that landed near the back of the batting cages beyond the right-field fence.

"It was just a fastball cutter that caught more plate than I wanted it to and didn't really have as much action as I wanted," Hudson said. "He whacked it and gave it a ride."

When asked what he was not pleased with, Hudson cited his location, curveball, changeup and fastball command. A few minutes later, he added that his arm strength is not near where it will need to be when the regular season starts on April 1.

Due to the World Baseball Classic, this year's exhibition season consists of an extra week. This puts Hudson in line to make five more starts before the regular season starts.

"It's just not coming out like I want it to," Hudson said. "At this point of spring, that's how it is for a lot of guys. Once you get the volume of pitches in and start getting on a regular routine of [bullpen sessions] and outings, it starts coming together a little bit later."