As if San Francisco Giants fans do not have enough anxiety about the rotation for the upcoming season, Tim Hudson added one more concern to their list Tuesday, by undergoing surgery to remove bone spurs from his right ankle. This is the same ankle he injured in July of 2013, from which he was still recovering one year ago, in preparation for joining the Giants at the start of spring training.
In his post Tuesday MLB’s Chris Haft reported that the recovery period for the surgery is about eight weeks, and that Hudson is expected to start the season on schedule. Haft went on to mention that Bruce Bochy had downplayed the procedure, commenting that the condition “just started nagging at him, so I think he just wants to get it cleaned up.”
Hudson, 39, compiled a 9-13 win/loss record in 2014, with a 3.57 ERA, including a September showing of 0-4 with an 8.72 ERA. Balanced with the negatives, however, Haft included the fact that the Giants actually finished 17-14 in Hudson’s starts.
Prior to Tuesday’s revelation, Giants fans were already contending with questions swirling around the rotation. After all, there is no reason to expect technical difficulties from Madison Bumgarner, 25 years old and in the best physical shape possible; still, he did pitch 270 innings last season.
Additionally, as if bone spurs were contagious, Matt Cain is also recovering from a similar procedure as Hudson, which had already raised red flags on the collective race track within fans’ minds.
How resilient is the rotation? Apparently, you will get the chance to judge for yourselves.
If they were already agitated over surgery for the 30-year-old Cain performed last August, how are they supposed to feel about January surgery for the 39-year-old Hudson?
Does Tim Lincecum still have that magic going for him?
And then there is Tim Lincecum. Supporters of Timmy say they see no issue; detractors maintain blinders are being employed. Fill in the appropriate bubble describing Timmy’s most glaring issue, suggest these naysayers: A) Mechanics B) Control C) Velocity D) Inconsistency E) All of the above. Spring training is designed to help answer these questions.
Finally there is Jake Peavy, seemingly rejuvenated at the idea of returning to pitch for his former manager in San Francisco, and still celebrating his second consecutive world series championship. Again, many fans point to Peavy’s role in helping San Francisco to the playoffs; opponents bring up his 1-2 postseason record in four starts along with the 6.19 ERA.
Should there be pressure on Brian Sabean to redouble efforts to shore up the rotation? You better believe it; that’s the job of everyone who follows the Giants, to maintain a watchful eye on the GM so that the club does not atrophy.
By the same token is the season in trouble before it has even gotten off the ground, with all of the uncertainty involved with an increasingly-aged group of veteran starters? Smile when you ask that question to Giants fans, so they know you are just pulling their leg.
The worst response you will get to that question is something along these lines: “Hey, whatever. Maybe the starters get it together, maybe the Giants bring up a couple of young arms, or maybe Sabes makes another of his deadline trade acquisitions, rescuing what appears to be a last-ditch-effort, but turns out to be the missing link.”
When a team has consistently demonstrated qualities of tenacity, resourcefulness, and cohesiveness over an extended number of seasons, the minutiae of day-to-day dealings must remain in the category of manageable.
Good thing the Giants have Bruce Bochy to handle the job of managing.
Jul 19, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Hudson was a huge part of the Giants’ surge to a 43-21 record in 2014, especially in terms of number of walks allowed. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports