KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) Tim Hudson said he was getting a little bit bored of spring training about a week ago, even if his arm wasn’t quite ready to start the season.
He sure looked ready on Saturday.
Hudson pitched four-hit ball over four innings in the Atlanta Braves’ 12-0 win over the New York Mets on Saturday.
He said he could have gone farther, and said he wants to reach at least 100 pitches in his final outing before the team goes north.
“I was ready to go about a week ago,” Hudson said. “Let’s just get it wrapped up. I’m ready to go now.”
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez wasn’t sure about letting Hudson throw 100 pitches before the team opens its season in Washington on March 31, but he is ready to give Hudson some leeway.
“He can start going longer,” Gonzalez said. “Next time maybe he can go 80. I don’t know about more than that for now.”
Hudson struck out four and the Braves’ six pitchers didn’t allow a walk in the win. Hudson was 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA last season.
“I have all of my pitches working right now,” He said. “All I need to do now is get my pitch count up. I might not be ready to go nine, but I am on my way. We are ready to go now.”
Another Brave who appears ready is third baseman Chipper Jones who is coming off a torn ACL that ended his 2010 season last summer. Jones reached base in all four plate appearances and scored two runs in six innings, his longest stint yet in the field. Gonzalez said that Jones is running better than he has all spring.
R.A. Dickey struggled for the Mets, walking four and allowing five runs in five innings, mixing his knuckler with his fastball. He said he wasn’t concerned and that he felt fine with the season looming. Dickey was 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA last season.
“I don’t have any excuses, but I threw well,” Dickey said. “The guy behind the plate told me he had never called a knuckleball pitcher before. But I don’t make excuses. I walked too many batters, but I feel fine.”
Nate McLouth raised his spring average to .474 with two hits for the Braves and scored two runs. McLouth batted .190 last season in 85 games, but has been batting in the leadoff slot often for the Braves this spring. Gonzalez said he is looking forward to big things from McLouth this year.
NOTES: Gonzalez hasn’t had the chance to visit minor league manager Luis Salazar at the Orlando Regional Medical Center since Salazar was hit in the face by a foul ball off the bat of C Brian McCann on Wednesday. Salazar has undergone at least two facial operations and treatment on his left eye since the accident. There is concern that Salazar could lose vision in his left eye but nothing will be known until further tests are done. Gonzalez promised that he would visit Salazar on Sunday. … LHP Jonny Venters pitched in his sixth spring game and has still not allowed a run. He’s allowed only one hit all spring. … Jair Jurrjens will make his fourth start of the spring on Sunday against the visiting Houston Astros. Eric O’Flaherty, Craig Kimbrel, Scott Proctor, and Cristhian Martinez are also expected to pitch for Atlanta.