“He’s a great competitor, a great athlete,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said of Hudson. “He’s a good guy. He’s got it all going. I don’t know how you can compare him to anyone. He’s got the best winning percentage in the American League the last two seasons.”
Hudson was 92-39 with a 3.30 ERA in five seasons with Oakland. He had only 12 wins last season, but spent six weeks on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle in his left side.
The right-hander will square off against hard-throwing A.J. Burnett, whose health will be critical to Florida’s success this season.
Burnett returned from reconstructive elbow surgery last June and went 7-6 with a 3.68 ERA in 120 innings. However, he pitched far better at home, going 6-0 with a 2.80 ERA in 11 starts at Pro Player Stadium.
The Marlins will try to do a better job of moving runners along after Wednesday’s 2-1, 13-inning loss. Atlanta won it when Chipper Jones hit a solo homer on the first pitch from Nate Bump in the 13th.
That was after Florida went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, with the lone hit coming on an infield single. The Marlins also set a team record by hitting into six double plays.
“Double plays killed us,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said. “We didn’t execute. We had so many chances to win. It was just one of those nights.”