Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: RHP Daniel Hudson Might Not be Ready for Opening Day

Dodgers reliever Daniel Hudson was having an outstanding season in 2022. Through 25 games, he had a 2.22 ERA with 30 strikeouts and just five walks in 24.1 innings. Unfortunately, that “.1” at the end of his innings total is there because, in that 25th game, Ronald Acuña Jr. tapped a ball in front of the mound, and when Hudson went to field it, he planted weird and blew out the ACL in his left knee, ending his season.

It was a tough blow for Hudson. At age 35, he had reportedly considered retiring prior to 2022, but the opportunity to come back to Los Angeles and compete for a title was too good to pass up. After the ACL tear, he knew he didn’t want his career to end like that, and he and LA agreed on a deal for 2023 late in the 2022 season.

Hudson has been delayed this spring by soreness in his ankle, and the team wanted to be extra cautious with him coming off a major injury. According to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on Thursday, the ankle is no longer the concern, but Hudson might not be ready for the start of the season because of the ACL recovery.

“Huddy is moving forward. I saw him yesterday in a ‘pen, he looked really good. Is he progressing? Absolutely. Is he going to be an impact reliever for us? Yes. Is it Opening Day? I don’t know about that yet. I do believe it will be early on in the season, but I don’t think Opening Day is a hard date for us right now. …

“I think it’s a combo [of build-up and injury recovery]. I would say moreso the knee, the knee and the arm. The arm doesn’t take as much time, he’s been throwing, he’s a one-inning guy. But the knee, as far as PFPs [pitchers fielding practices] and the recovery and stuff like that, we’ve got to be very sensitive to. …

“[In his bullpen sessions], if you didn’t know about the knee and the ankle, you wouldn’t know any different. He can spin the baseball, he can command the baseball, it looks really good. …

“I think preparing and knowing that’s a possibility [for Hudson to not be on the Opening Day roster], that’s fair, yeah.”

This is not a setback, it’s just caution. It’s been about eight months since Hudson’s ACL surgery and he’ll be 36 next week, so Los Angeles just wants to prioritize health for the entire season over being ready for Opening Day.

Roberts also said, though, that once Hudson is ready, he’ll be an option at closer.

“I think it’s still fluid. Once Huddy is with us, I think there’s a couple other guys in the mix. I don’t think we need to break camp and say that we have a dedicated closer. I think there’s a lot of, a handful of guys that are gonna be in our ‘pen that I feel can finish games.”

LA goes into the 2023 season without a dedicated closer, and there are some people (me, I am some people) who think Hudson would be a good candidate for the role because he might benefit the most from a little more predictability in his routine.

Hopefully, Hudson can pick up where he left off in 2022, because he was outstanding.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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