Hudson pitched well in his rehab start with the Wranglers
"I felt a lot stronger than I did just five days ago, so it was a step in the right direction," Hudson said. "Just a couple of sinkers were left flat, and I gave up a few hits on that pitch.
"Tonight, that was the only pitch I wasn't completely happy with. Some were good, and some had good life on them, and others were flat. But other than that, I was pretty happy with it."
Manager Tony Tijerina agreed.
"It was good to see him," Tijerina said. "He was healthy, and we wanted to take him all the way to 70 pitches which we did. He struck out the last guy and finished strong. Dayton Moore was here, and he was real pleased."
Clocked consistently in the upper-80 to the low-90 mph range, Hudson's sinker gave the Cardinals fits, as the 29-year-old right-hander induced six groundouts and zero fly outs. Hudson, who was on a pitch count of 70 according to manager Tony Tijerina, will next pitch for the Triple-A Omaha Royals against the Memphis Redbirds on Monday, April 30.
However, Buckner picked up the loss when outfielder Jon Jay hit a screaming line drive over the head of centerfielder Onil Joseph with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th inning. With the outing, however, Buckner lowered his ERA to 4.66 and improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 13-to-6. On Thursday, he was promoted to Omaha.
Also on Thursday, Buckner's roster spot was filled when the Royals promoted right-handed pitcher Carlos Rosa to Double-A. Rosa, who was dominating the Single-A Carolina League with a 0.39 ERA in 23 innings for Wilmington, will likely relieve rehabbing left-hander John Bale on Saturday, April 28.
Moving on up: Buckner (left) is heading for Triple-A, while Rosa will take his place in Wichita
"It's the same game at every level, but there are different levels of development," Tijerina said. "You know, when you get to the Double-A, Triple-A level, guys have better knowledge of the game, and it's getting more into the mental game. You know, the matchups, facing better pitching every night, better lineups, and just getting [the players] through that.
"At the lower levels, you're just pounding them with fundamentals and going through the basics a lot of the time."
After being stocked last year with premier first-round picks like Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and Mitch Maier, the Wranglers have more of a veteran construction in 2007, but Tijerina views that as a positive.
"I think it's an experienced team; we have six position player free agents here who've all done well at the other places they've been," he said. "They're bringing that here to some of our younger talent, and they're helping them to understand how to succeed at these levels."
Craig Brazell, who is hitting .323/.408/.613 with five home runs, is one of the minor league veterans leading the Wranglers this year