The Atlanta Braves will look to have their ace starting pitcher Tim Hudson back into the starting rotation sometime this year, but nailing down a specific time still seems to be a bit of an issue. Hudson is recovering from a lumbar spine-fusion surgery (sounds painful) that took place back in late November, and 3 1/2 months later the Columbus native is "optimistic" on joining the rotation by May 1.
"I think [May 1] at the latest," Hudson said. "It’d be hard to say [if he can return earlier] because I’ve got to build up to that. I could be back in April but it might be a four- or five-inning thing. April is my month of spring training games — unless I’m able to pitch sooner here [in camp] sooner than we thought."
The Braves are planning on starting Hudson in the minor leagues until he's fully ready to come up to the big league club. At 36, he's the longest tenured pitcher on the Braves staff and the unquestioned leader of the rotation.