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Atlanta Braves Built to Withstand Injury to Tim Hudson

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COMMENTARY | Tim Hudson's gruesome ankle injury Wednesday night (if you haven't seen it ... don't) had Atlanta Braves fans cringing but with the news that Hudson's season is over, thoughts are turning to the team's options at starting pitcher going forward.

Atlanta was already looking for someone to replace Paul Maholm, who was placed on the disabled list with a sprained wrist, and now must fill a second hole in the rotation.

Fortunately, for the Braves, these injuries come at a time when many were wondering if Atlanta had too many starting pitchers. The emergence of Alex Wood as a serviceable big-leaguer, coupled with the impending return of Brandon Beachy from elbow-ligament surgery, provide two in-house options for the Braves.

Wood could probably use more seasoning in the minors; he hadn't played a full season above A-ball before his call-up to the majors, but he has performed reasonably well in his relief appearances and spot starts for Atlanta. Before his injury in 2012, Brandon Beachy was having an incredible year, with an ERA of 2.00 and a sub-1.00 WHIP. No one knows if he will be that good upon his return but if he can come close to those numbers, the Braves will be thrilled.

Should Atlanta choose to look elsewhere for starting pitching help, the Braves have a few options. One is to dip into their farm system again, which is replete with quality young arms. Omar Poveda and David Hale have both pitched well for the Gwinnett Braves this year and could receive the call. It would be unlikely, though, as Beachy and Wood would be just as good of options.

The more likely roster move would be to trade for a starter. Braves scouts have been active lately, mainly looking for potential bullpen help, but while watching teams like the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins, they will at least have their eyes on starters, possibly Jake Peavy or Chris Sale of the White Sox or Kevin Correia of Minnesota. Obviously, a player of Sale or even Peavy's quality would demand quite a return, so Atlanta will have to weigh its options carefully.

It hurts to lose a player of Tim Hudson's quality, both on the field and in the clubhouse. But despite the devastating nature of Hudson's injury, the Braves are in a position where it shouldn't have too serious of an effect on their season.

Joe Thomas was raised and lives within shouting distance of Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves. He is the sports editor for The Sting, the student newspaper of Southern Polytechnic State University. You can find him on Twitter using the handle @jhqthomas.

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