-- When Tim Hudson had surgery to remove bone spurs from his right ankle in early January, it was estimated his rehab would last six to eight weeks. A little more than eight weeks removed from the procedure, Hudson made his spring debut for the Giants Wednesday and said he felt no lingering effects while pitching a scoreless inning against the Milwaukee Brewers.
"It’s usually six weeks for a young guy," Hudson said, grinning. "I think since I’m older they said eight. Osteoporosis starts making those bones get a little slower, you know?"
Hudson is still going at 39 years old, and said Wednesday he feels stronger now than he did at this point last spring, when he was coming back from his first surgery on the right ankle.
"Ankle feels fine," Hudson said. "I don’t even really think about it. It’s a non-issue at this point, I believe."
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Hudson didn’t have to wait long Wednesday to test the ankle. The first batter he faced, Gerardo Parra, hit a sharp grounder to first baseman Brandon Belt, who bobbled it, requiring Hudson to run over and cover the bag. Hudson got there in plenty of time and snagged Belt’s flip for the out.
"I knew it was going to be the first play," Hudson joked. "Surprised it wasn’t bang-bang, have to jump and do a cartwheel to get it."
Luis Jiminez followed with a double into the gap in left-center, but Hudson got Ryan Braun to fly out to Angel Pagan in center on a full-count pitch. Hudson then walked Khris Davis, but came back to strike out Martin Maldonado looking to end the inning.
Hudson said he threw mostly fastballs in his first outing -- he’s focusing on that pitch early to build up strength in his arm. He said he still has a little ways to go before he’s ready to pitch seven innings in a start, but feels confident he’ll get there in time for his first regular-season start in April.
"I could tell just from a conditioning standpoint, I’m in a much better shape right now than I was last year," Hudson said.
Last season, Hudson was coming back from having his right ankle surgically repaired. He had the bone spur procedure in the first week of January this year, but said it was a "pretty straightforward" surgery involving no repairs, and that his rehab went smoothly.
Manager Bruce Bochy said both Hudson and Matt Cain, who is coming back from elbow and ankle surgery to remove bone spurs, both remain on track to be ready for the start of the regular season after making their Cactus League debuts this week.
"He looked good, I thought, out here for his first outing," Bochy said of Hudson. "Got tested covering first, and he was hitting his spots pretty good."
Hudson will turn 40 this season and has said he intends for it to be his last in the majors. He joked, though, that he’s not letting this spring pass without making an impact -- he threw multiple live batting practice sessions before his debut Wednesday and some of the Giants’ young prospects hit him hard, including 19-year-old Christian Arroyo and infielder Ehire Adrianza, who "hit four or five line drives off me."
"I might’ve helped Adrianza out the other day," Hudson said. "Think I got him a roster spot."