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Archive for Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hudson aims for June return

May 11, 2008

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— Luke Hudson, who had shoulder surgery last June and opened this season on the Kansas City Royals disabled list, could begin throwing at batting practice next week.

Hudson, who was in the Royals rotation in 2006, is rehabbing at their Surprise, Ariz. complex.

"He's not in games yet, but he's getting close," said J.J. Picollo, director of player development for the Royals. "He's throwing 30-pitch sides right now. The reports have all been good. We're hoping by the end of this month, he'll be able to pitch in extended games and then we can start talking about a rehab assignment and get him prepared to hopefully help our big league team. Toward the end of next week he might have a live batting practice.

"We were shooting for mid-May to face hitters in a live batting practice. It looks like he is on track to do that."

If Hudson continues to make progress with no setbacks, Picollo said Hudson could start a minor league rehab assignment by early June.

"We've got to get his pitch count up," Picollo said. "We'd like for him to be able to throw 60 pitches in Arizona before sending him out even to throw two innings in a rehab. We want to get that pitch count up where he has faced hitters and it is up and down in between innings."

Hudson was 7-6 with a 5.12 earned run average in 2006 with Kansas City, but made only one start in the majors last season before needing shoulder surgery.

Left-hander John Foster, who has pitched in the majors with Atlanta and Milwaukee, was a non-roster invite to the Royals spring training, but was set back by a back injury. He threw in an extended spring game Thursday and is close to being assigned to a minor league team.

"He's got one more appearance in an extended game and then he'll be able to go out to pitch," Picollo said.

Foster was 4-2 with a 4.15 ERA in 62 relief appearances in 2005 with the Atlanta Braves, but missed the 2006 season after undergoing elbow surgery.

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