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Hudson responds to article in USA Today

Veteran hurler refutes portrayal as bitter about treatment by Braves

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ATLANTA -- After tossing his latest gem, against the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon, Giants right-hander Tim Hudson had planned to relax and enjoy Monday's off-day in Cincinnati.

Instead Hudson spent most of the day disturbed by an article in USA Today that portrayed him as bitter about the Braves not making a stronger push to re-sign him this past winter.

"It just kind of made me feel sick most of yesterday, because that is not the way I felt after the whole process played out," Hudson said during a phone conversation on Tuesday morning.

Hudson grew up a Braves fan and became an integral part of the organization as a member of the rotation from 2005-13. When he and his San Francisco teammates visited Atlanta in May, he had a lot of complimentary things to say about the Braves organization, adding that he is looking forward to his post-retirement days, when he will take his kids to Turner Field for games.

With this in mind, it is easier to understand why Hudson was bothered by the article, in which he was quoted as saying, "It was made pretty clear to me the Braves didn't want me back. ... After what I had done for them, it was kind of a slap in the face."

Though Hudson did say these words during a portion of the interview with Bob Nightengale, he is bothered by the fact that the quotes alone provide just an indication of what he felt during the earliest stages of the free-agent process.

When the Braves made an initial offer of one year and $2 million, Hudson had reason to be upset given all that he had provided on the mound and to the Atlanta community over the previous 10 seasons.

But in the weeks before Hudson signed a two-year, $23 million contract with the Giants, he repeatedly credited Braves general manager Frank Wren for the increased interest he was showed through enhanced financial offers.

"After the initial offer and all of that, it ended up not being a slap in the face," Hudson said. "But initially, it looked like we were not going to go anywhere."

Thoughts of Hudson returning to Atlanta seemingly ended on Nov. 4, when he indicated that he would not even counter the initial offer. But as his market value started to take shape over the next couple of weeks, he had multiple conversations with Wren and even welcomed him into his home just a few days before his deal with the Giants was completed.

"The Braves made a push, but we were just too far down the line with the Giants," Hudson said.

With Hudson, 38, coming off a gruesome fracture to his right ankle, an injury that prevented him from even throwing off a mound until the latter part of November, Atlanta was understandably not comfortable making the kind of commitment that San Francisco made. In fact, Hudson entered the free-agent market without any indication that he would end up receiving the kind of offer he did.

Nor did Hudson envision entering the first week of June with Major League Baseball's second-best ERA. But as he has thrived with his new club, he has continued to hold a place in his heart for the Braves.

"I still keep up with the Braves, like I have my whole life," Hudson said. "I still have a lot of great friends in that clubhouse. I can't say I don't still pull for them, because I do, except for when we're playing them."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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