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Knights right-hander Hudson sailing again after slow start
05/10/2010 10:01 AM ET
Charlotte's Dan Hudson has 16 strikeouts over his last 13 innings.
Charlotte's Dan Hudson has 16 strikeouts over his last 13 innings. (Tony Dejak/AP)
The 2009 season was a dream come true for Charlotte Knights right-hander Dan Hudson.

He began last season with Class A Kannapolis in the South Atlantic League. But before the year was through, Hudson had leapfrogged to the Major Leagues, where he posted a 1-1 record and 3.38 ERA in six appearances for the White Sox.

Unfortunately, the start of the 2010 season was a bit of a nightmare for the 6-foot-3, 225-pound hurler. His first two starts for Triple-A Charlotte went well enough, as he allowed 10 hits and four runs in 11 innings to claim a pair of victories. But in his third start, Hudson gave up seven hits and eight runs -- four earned -- and didn't survive the fifth inning in a loss Durham.

Then, Hudson crashed in a loss at Columbus, surrendering eight hits and nine earned runs. He pitched to four batters in the second inning and didn't retire any of them in his shortest professional outing, a stint that spiked his ERA to 9.37.

"I was working on a lot of stuff -- trying to throw downhill, trying to tweak my mechanics," Hudson said of his start against the Clippers. "I felt good going into the game, but once I got in the game, I felt like a completely different person.

"I left a bunch of balls up, and a good team was going to crush those pitches."

Hudson has turned things around since that start at Columbus, winning at Toledo and against Pawtucket to improve his record to 4-2 while lowering his ERA to 5.83.

"If you had never seen the guy before, and you see he has a nine ERA, you're not expecting the stuff we saw," Toledo manager Larry Parrish said. "He had good stuff, and he kept getting outs."

Hudson was especially sharp against the Hens, allowing just four hits while fanning 10 in seven shutout innings.

"I was trying to get ahead with the fastball, trying to establish that first and foremost," Hudson said. "I just wanted to get ahead, then give them a chance to get themselves out."

The 23-year-old features a running fastball that sits in the low 90s as well as a change-up he said he will "throw to anybody in any count." Though his slider is his third-best pitch, Hudson said, "When it's on, it's really on, but when it doesn't work, I rely on my change-up more."

A fifth-round pick in 2008, Hudson posted a 14-5 record and 2.32 ERA with 166 strikeouts in 147 1/3 innings in his first full pro season last year. Those numbers were good enough for the Old Dominion University product to earn the MiLBY Award for Overall Starting Pitcher of the Year.

"It was a whirlwind season -- starting in low A and ending up in the big leagues is unheard of," Hudson said. "I was humbled that the White Sox were so aggressive with me, and I was able to do well at every level.

"When I was promoted to Double-A, something just clicked. That's the best stretch I've ever pitched, [the time from] Double-A up to Triple-A. It was just an unbelievable experience."

Hudson said his start in Toledo proves he can regain the form that helped him reach the Major Leagues last year.

"I felt really good -- I felt I was taking a leap forward to get back to where I was [last year]," Hudson said. "I had a pretty decent start in Norfolk [to open the season], but I wasn't consistent. I felt I took a really big step toward being the guy I was last year."

In brief

Snapped with a bang: Louisville snapped a nine-game losing streak with a win at Buffalo on May 3. But the Bats did more than just win -- they set a franchise record for hits in a game with 24. Louisville scored at least one run in each of the first eight innings in a 20-7 win over the Bisons, falling one run short of tying the franchise record for runs in a game. It was a much-needed offensive explosion by a team that had scored just 15 runs in its previous six games.

Perkins' problems: Rochester LHP Glen Perkins won 12 games for the Twins in 2008, but he has struggled at the start of this season. Perkins is 0-3 with a 10.90 ERA in five starts for the Red Wings, allowing 31 hits and eight walks in 17 1/3 innings. In his most recent start, May 4 at home against Durham, Perkins surrendered eight hits -- including three homers -- and six earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings.

He said it: "The first time I looked up at the scoreboard, I was thinking, 'I haven't taken something like this this far, ever.' The mind tends to wander to things it desires. My mind was desiring a no-hitter."

-- Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RHP Jason Hirsh to the Scranton Times-Tribune on April 27. Hirsh gave up a home run to Louisville's Corky Miller with two outs in the eighth that broke up the no-hit bid, but the 2003 second-round pick still earned a 2-1 victory.

John Wagner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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