Hudson knuckler: Braves pitcher Tim Hudson threw a knuckleball to Adam LaRoche in the second inning, after his friend and former Atlanta teammate dared him to.
“He’s thrown me a knuckle ball (before), that was the second time,” LaRoche said. “Another time he went to switch balls and threw one right at my head and it went all the way to the backstop. He just likes having fun apparently. That was funny. I actually gave him the knuckleball signal walking up. I didn’t think he would. I should’ve known better.”
Hudson had his best night of the spring, allowing six hits and no walks with five strikeouts in six scoreless innings. He threw 45 strikes in 65 pitches, including the knuckleball that LaRoche didn’t swing at.
“It’s a new pitch I’ve been working on,” Hudson deadpanned. “I was going to wait till the All-Star break to break it out, but it’s been so good lately that I’m going to start implementing it….
“He looked at me and (signaled with hand) like, ‘Knuckleball? Throw me a knuckleball? Ha ha ha.’ I did it. It was almost a strike. It was close. Over the plate, down.”
As for his performance, Hudson said, “Today was the biggest step I’ve taken this spring. My curveball felt better. I threw a handful of them and they were located pretty well, pretty good life on ‘em. My cutter was how it’s been most of the spring. Threw some good splits. The main thing was my fastball location was a lot better. Felt like it had a little better zip to it, little better life on it.
“It was nice to see some 87 (mph pitches) that weren’t fastballs. That’s always a good thing.”