What had been a splendid night for Tim Hudson and the Braves took an
awful turn in the eighth inning Wednesday night, when the veteran pitcher broke
his right ankle on a play at first base in a 8-2 win against the New York Mets.
Hudson was pitching a four-hit shutout when the gruesome injury occurred. Eric Young, trying to beat a throw to first base on a groundout, stepped on Hudson's leg just above the ankle, rolling his ankle inward all the way to the ground.
Hudson held on to the ball for the out and hopped a couple of times before falling to the ground in agony. X-rays taken at Citi Field showed the fracture, and Hudson will have season-ending surgery in Atlanta once the swelling goes down.
"It's terrible," said second baseman Dan Uggla, who hit one of the Braves' three home runs, but was in a solemn mood afterward, like the rest of his teammates. "That's a big blow. Huddy is such a leader on the field and in the clubhouse, and in the dugout when he's not pitching, so this is a tough one."
Hudson, 38, was attended to by trainers and EMS works for about 10 minutes before being strapped on a backboard and placed on a motorized cart. He was driven off the field, the cart traveling directly in front of the visitor's dugout on the third-base side, a few feet in front of concerned teammates standing on the top step.
Catcher Brian McCann was asked about Hudson's importance to the Braves.
"He's huge," McCann said. "I mean, he's the veteran presence around here that people go to. It's Tim Hudson. The guy's got 200 wins, and best teammate you're ever going to have. Everybody in here feels bad for him."
There were two runners on base and one out when Young hit a grounder that bounced off the chest of first baseman Freddie Freeman, who retrieved it and tossed softly to Hudson, covering on the play.
Hudson had reached back a second time with his foot to make sure he made the tag, and his foot was more than halfway across the base when Young, already in the air on his final lunging last step to the base, stepped on Hudson's leg above the ankle while running full speed.
"There was nowhere for EY to go, nothing he could do," Braves manager Freddie Gonzalez said.
"I saw them get tangled up," Uggla said. "I was just hoping he Charley-horsed him or something. I didn't see the extent of it. Once I saw Huddy's reaction, I was like, Oh, no. This isn't good....
"He was kind of in disbelief, obviously in a lot of pain. You could see, just the thoughts going through his head, 'This can't be happening.... This is unbelievable.' That sort of thing. I know he was in a lot of pain."
Gonzalez and trainers ran to Hudson as he lay on the field just inside the first-base line.
"It's a freak play, two guys going for the bag and EY just stepped on him," Gonzalez said, "and Huddy had his foot on the bag. Freak play. You cover the bag thousands of times and that stuff never happens. But the reaction of the crowd when we were out there -- I guess they showed the replay (on the video board) -- wasn't good. And talking to Timmy, you felt that it wasn't good."
Young appeared distraught as he stood near Hudson, fighting to hold back tears.
"I'm hustling down the line like I always do, going for the base," Young said. "I saw his foot, as I'm going for the base, right there in the middle. As I came
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