— Tim Hudson said he spent the flight home from Kansas City after Game 7 of the World Series last October seriously contemplating whether to retire and go out a champion. In those hours, he said, “I think I retired and unretired about five times.”
Hudson ultimately decided to return for the 2015 season. But he said Friday that his 17th big-league season will in all likelihood be his last.
“I’m definitely leaning that way for sure,” Hudson said. “If I go out there and feel really good physically all year and I feel strong throughout the year, that’s one thing that might make things a little different in that equation. But for the most part, I feel really good and pretty confident in telling you this is going to be it.”
Hudson did not feel good physically for much of last year. He was still recovering from ankle surgery last spring training and said Friday the ankle “flared up all year.” It got worse in the second half, likely contributing to his hip problems at the end of the season. Hudson then underwent surgery to remove bone chips from the ankle in January, which puts him several weeks behind schedule for spring training at least.
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“I feel really good about it,” Hudson said of the ankle. “Timing of it wasn’t great to have the surgery. But I’m glad it’s fixed and I won’t have to deal with it through the season.”
Hudson revealed the ankle flared up this offseason on a trip to Disney World. He was walking around the theme park and the ankle was “pretty painful,” convincing him to contact the Giants’ training staff. “Walt Disney got me,” Hudson said.
Now five weeks removed from the procedure, Hudson has started throwing again off flat ground. While he’ll be behind the Giants’ other starters in Arizona, Giants trainer Dave Groeschner said the goal for Hudson is “to be ready to go the first week of April.” Last spring, still recovering from the first ankle surgery, Hudson had an abbreviated number of spring training starts and got off to a strong start in the regular season.
Manager Bruce Bochy said he’ll keep an eye on Hudson in spring and cut down the time that Hudson spends standing around between bullpen sessions and fielding drills. It’s not the most glamorous time for major-league pitchers, but Hudson opted to come back for it anyway. He also had a persuasive voice in his ear for that decision.
“My wife -- which I’m kind of starting to wonder why,” Hudson said. “Usually the wives want you to retire. Mine didn’t.”
▪ Bochy said during a question-and-answer session with fans at FanFest on Saturday that the Giants could explore finding a role in the organization for Barry Bonds. Bonds was at spring training last year for a week as a special hitting instructor and said at the time he wanted to use the time partly to determine whether he would be interested in coaching. Bonds worked with major-league hitters in Scottsdale, particularly Michael Morse, and also ducked into AT&T Park several times last season, though not in an official capacity.
▪ General manager Brian Sabean said it would be a “long shot” for the Giants to sign the Cuban free agent infielder Yoan Moncada, though he added that the Giants have scouted Moncada “heavily” and that Moncada is physically impressive.
Asked if the Giants could make any more significant roster moves before spring, Sabean said: “No, we’re pretty much at our budget.”
▪ Sabean said he has no concerns entering spring about Madison Bumgarner, despite the left-hander’s workload last season. “You know he’s got 270 innings from last year. But he’s strong as an ox. Delivery’s pretty simple and straightforward, and he’s never really had any issues. But we’ll be watchful.”
▪ Buster Posey was asked whether he has any concern about the Giants’ lineup losing the power of Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse and whether he will personally try to hit for more power: “No, Aoki told me he was going to hit 20 (home runs). So I’m not worried about it.”
▪ Bochy said that Hector Sanchez, who had last season cut short by a concussion, is “doing well” and “showing no effects from the concussion.” Sanchez played winter ball in Venezuela but was exclusively a designated hitter at the Giants’ request. However, Bochy said Sanchez will catch in spring training.
“From what I understand, he’s in great shape,” Bochy said. “So I look forward to seeing him.”
Bochy did add that Andrew Susac remains the frontrunner for the backup job and Sabean said the Giants will only carry two catchers into the season.
▪ And finally, the best part of FanFest is typically the Q&A sessions between players and fans. Here’s a sampling from Saturday’s festivities:
Travis Ishikawa, on what he said to Jake Peavy on the basepaths after his game-winning home run in last year’s NLCS: “I think the G-rated version was, ‘Please, kindly, step aside.’”
Javier Lopez, when a fan asked the Washington native Ishikawa if he’s a Seahawks fan: “He’s just here so he won’t get fined.”
Brandon Belt, asked what he says to opposing runners at first base: “Just hi most of the time.” To which Casey McGehee added: “You are one of the most boring first basemen.”
A fan asked what it’ll be like having Nori Aoki on the team after the Giants beat Aoki’s Royals in the World Series. Sergio Romo: “I’m not going to flash my ring at him or anything.” Belt: “I am.”
What superpower would you most like to have? Joe Panik: “I’d say strength, so I’d have a chance in a wrestling match with Bum.” Matt Cain: “Or to hit more than one homer.”
Vogelsong, on what advice he’s received from former Giants greats: “One day Will (Clark) comes in and goes, ‘Vogey, will you stop sucking?’ Sure thing, Will!”
Hunter Pence, on his favorite “Hunter Pence” signs: “Hunter Pence picked the hamburger in the hot dog race. And there’s another one, ‘Hunter Pence is all about that treble.’”
Which teammate would be your ideal roommate? Tim Hudson: “It wouldn’t be Bum. He’s too big and he’s got too much hair.” Buster Posey: “I’d probably go Crawford, because I’d be able to get some sleep even if he was talking to me.” (The shortstop mumbles).
And, finally, Jeremy Affeldt was a punching bag all day. McGehee was asked if he’s been subjected to any new-player hazing: “Yeah, they made me sit next to Affeldt on the bus.” Cain, told he’s looking especially lean: “Eating less. I started seeing Affeldt and what happens when you get older.” Cain, on which teammate he’d most like to wrestle: “I’m going Affeldt, because right when we step in the ring he’s going to do something dumb.” Posey, on which teammate he’d like to wrestle: “Affeldt’s already blown out a knee chasing his kid. I figure one kick to the knee and he’s done. So Affeldt.”
Affeldt on which Giants player he’d least like to room with: “Probably myself.”