A public thank-you to Huddy, a real pro

It was one of those times you wish you hadn’t been watching, but I was, and I had just tweeted about what a masterful game Tim Hudson was pitching for the Braves. When he’s on, he’s like watching an artist at work.

He had shutout going in the eighth. He was painting the corners, changing speeds, all the things he does to be consummate professional he is. And then it happened: He went to cover first base on a grounder to first. Close play. The runner, unintentionally, stepped hard on Hudson’s ankle. You could tell, right way, it was broken.

Here’s what you need it know: Hudson is 38. He is out for the season. Surely, he is a future Hall of Famer. Nicest thing I can say: He reminds me of Maddux. He is in the last year of his contract. He might have pitched his last game for the Braves. The Braves are 7.5 games up in the division race, but it will be a struggle down the stretch.

But where this really, really hurts the Braves is when it comes times for the playoffs, if they make the playoffs ,and I still think they will. Hudson was the only Braves starter with considerable playoff experience. Three of the other four have none.

And the other place where it really hurts the Braves: leadership. Hudson was a guy everybody looked up to. The smart ones tried to emulate him. He’s a pro’s pro, a former Auburn standout who worked hard not only on his pitching craft, but also helped himself at the plate and with his glove.

It’s hard to imagine we’ve seen the last of Hudson as a Brave and I hope we have not. If we have, then consider this a public thank-you to a guy who has exuded professionalism in every regard.

I don’t want to see any more replays of that play. Ever.

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