Hudgins on comeback trail, again

PEORIA, AZ-- San Diego Padres prospect John Hudgins hasn't had it easy. He has lost each of the last two seasons to injury but says he is back to the form that saw him have success in 2006 and early in 2007.

Talk about the injury and the recovery process you have undergone this time around.

John Hudgins: Yeah. I had a Tommy John two years ago now, and it just didn't ever quite get back to normal.

As it turns out, they had to go back in there, and when they went back in, they discovered that I had some bone chips – fragments that had chipped off from the original injury and from the recovery process. I calcified more than I should have, and stuff like that. So they had to go in and clean everything up.

But fortunately, that second process seems to have done the trick, and I feel pretty good about it now.

How frustrating has this process been for you, especially when you come back in spring and then again in July?

John Hudgins: Well, it's pretty frustrating, no doubt about it. You start to question everything, you know: when you're going to get back, whether you're going to feel good when you do get back, and all that.

But it's been good for me too in some ways. It's helped me mature and become better overall – and made me better able to handle things that I might come up against in the future.

Where is your stuff today compared to the stuff you had when you were healthy in 2006?

John Hudgins: I would say it's as good. I haven't seen the radar gun reading since or anything like that, but I feel like the ball is coming out of my hand really well and my stuff feels really good.

What has changed since that time with your mentality and attitude towards the game?

John Hudgins: I'm probably just a little more mature in general. You can help but grow up a little bit every year. I think that the way I'll approach the game will be with a more confident demeanor now just because of the age difference. When you're 24 or 25, it's not the same as when you're 26 or 27. Just the maturity that comes along with that – I think that will help.

You have always had a plus changeup. Have things changed with which pitch you feel most comfortable throwing?

John Hudgins: I don't think so. I think I'll stick with who I was when I was healthy and comfortable and going well. I've always pitched well and had success with what I've done and so I think I'll stick with it until it fails me.

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