Two years ago, Diamondbacks pitcher Daniel Hudson was a big reason for the team winning the NL West.
A 16-game winner with a 3.49 ERA, Hudson was expected to be a fixture in the starting rotation once again in 2012, but elbow troubles that led to him needing Tommy John surgery ended his season after just nine starts.
Now Hudson, 26, is working hard to return to the mound, and while D-backs president Derrick Hall says the right-hander is on track, he admits the team has to make sure he doesn't push too hard.
"There's no reason to force him along or rush him, and we've had to convince him of that," Hall told Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf Thursday. "Because he feels so good he wants to get out there and speed up his rehabilitation."
While the D-backs would certainly like to get Hudson back, Hall said there is no rush because the team has quality pitching depth. Even without Hudson, Kirk Gibson's squad is ready to roll out a group that includes Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy and Wade Miley, with Randall Delgado and Patrick Corbin still battling for the fifth spot in the rotation.
So in a way, having a healthy Hudson would be the proverbial icing on the cake.
"Knowing that he's going to be back at some point midseason is a luxury, but right now, when you don't need him you want to slow him down and get him back on the timing of a normal rehab for Tommy John surgery, but he's going to be fine."