NEW YORK -- Brandon Beachy appears to be the obvious choice to replace Tim Hudson in Atlanta's starting rotation. But before making this official, the Braves will first make sure Beachy rebounds from Wednesday night's Minor League rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett.
Less than an hour before Hudson broke his right ankle in the eighth inning of Wednesday's win over the Mets, Beachy completed what Braves general manager Frank Wren described as the most impressive of the four rehab starts he has made for Gwinnett this month.
Beachy lines up to take what would have been Hudson's next turn in the rotation on Monday against the Rockies. But Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez said they would wait at least one more day to officially announce their plans for Monday.
"We've got to wait to see how he wakes up this morning," Gonzalez said. "But I don't see any reason why he would wake up sore or any of that kind of stuff. He'll throw a bullpen [session] tomorrow or the next day, and he'd be a perfect fit to put in there in that Monday slot."
Gonzalez said the reports he received indicated Beachy displayed a good breaking ball and consistent command as he limited Durham to two hits and two runs (one earned) while throwing 86 pitches on Wednesday. More importantly, Beachy, who is attempting to return from Tommy John surgery, was not bothered by the right elbow discomfort that he experienced during the Minor League rehab stint he completed in June.
When the Braves announced earlier this week that Alex Wood would start Thursday afternoon's game against the Mets, they indicated their plan was to place Paul Maholm on the disabled list. But the club instead opted to place Hudson on the disabled list when Wood was officially recalled from Gwinnett on Thursday.
As long as Maholm is not needed to make an emergency appearance over the next few days, he could be placed on the disabled list on Monday to make room for Beachy.
Maholm has been sidelined since exiting Saturday's start against the White Sox with what the Braves have termed a bruised left wrist. The left-hander's wrist was still visibly swollen on Thursday, but there's reason to believe he'll be ready to pitch when he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list on Aug. 5.
Once Maholm returns, the Braves will likely have to choose whether to move either Wood or Kris Medlen to the bullpen.
"You don't know what is going to happen in the future, but yeah, you feel good," Gonzalez said. "You've got six starters and you feel good about the guys. Yeah, you've got young pitchers. But you've got to grow up sooner or later."
As Hudson recovers, Fredi hopes influence remains
NEW YORK -- As Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez prepared for Thursday afternoon's series finale against the Mets, his thoughts remained with Tim Hudson, who suffered a season-ending injury when he fractured his right ankle during the eighth inning of Wednesday night's 8-2 win.
"You think about him, and the competitor that he is and what he brings to our club," Gonzalez said. "I think we need to rally behind this as a team and as a pitching staff. We're going to miss him, but we've got a good club."
While Hudson did not return to Citi Field on Thursday, he was planning to fly back with the club to Atlanta after the game. He will undergo surgery when the swelling around his ankle subsides and then begin a rehab process with the hope of being healthy by the start of next season.
Time will tell exactly what the future holds for Hudson, who is in the final year of his contract. But Gonzalez is hoping the 38-year-old will spend the remainder of this season continuing to serve as a positive influence on his teammates.
When Hudson returned to the team's hotel in Manhattan late Wednesday night, he was greeted by a line of teammates who offered their well wishes.
"I told him last night, 'I want you around with the crutches or the boot or whatever it is,'" Gonzalez said. "I told him I want him there to be supportive. I said, 'I'll even let you manage a couple of games if you want.' He said, 'Oh no, I don't want to do that.'"
Hudson suffered the injury while covering first base in the eighth after Eric Young's one-out grounder bounced off Freddie Freeman's chest. After receiving Freeman's feed in time to record the out, Hudson kept his right foot in the middle of the bag long enough for Young to crush his ankle.
Young showed great sportsmanship as he remained by Hudson's side until the Braves pitcher was carted off the field. Gonzalez and many of the Braves have said this was simply a freak accident that was not influenced by even a hint of ill intent on Young's part.
"I'm sure there are people that think it was done on purpose," Gonzalez said. "It would be asinine to think that. It's a bang-bang play over there. He had nowhere to go. Huddy had nowhere to go. It just happens."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was among the many figures from around Major League Baseball who expressed concern for Hudson after watching what had the makings to be a routine out evolve into an ugly scene.
"It's sad, sickening -- gives you a bad feeling," Leyland said. "What a shame. It's amazing how fragile it is, because that's something you work on on the first day of Spring Training. It's like taking a drink of water. He just got in the middle of the bag and the timing was exactly wrong, instead of right, I should say. The guy just happened to be there at the exact time. It was a sad thing."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.