Los Angeles (AFP) - Washington Nationals closing pitcher Daniel Hudson was back on duty in time for Game Two of the National League Championship Series with absolutely no regrets over missing game one to attend the birth of his third child.
"My family is top priority for me," Hudson said before the Nats took the field in St. Louis aiming to build on their Friday night victory over the Cardinals in the best-of-seven series.
"I heard somebody say one time 'Baseball's what I do, it's not who I am'.
"And kind of once you have kids, or once I had kids, it really resonated with me. So to be able to be a part of that was awesome."
Hudson said he was grateful that the Nationals, including manager Dave Martinez, backed his decision to take a short paternity leave to be with his wife, Sara, for the birth in Phoenix of baby Millie -- their third daughter.
The decision sparked predictable barbs on social media, many from worried fans. Former Miami Marlins president David Samson weighed in on Twitter, condemning Hudson's absence.
As he watched the game with family on Friday night, Hudson said, the negative comments were "hard to ignore".
"I went from not having a job on March 21 to this huge national conversation on family values going into the playoffs," he said. "Life comes at you fast. I don't know how that happened and how I became the face for whatever conversation was going on."
In the end, the Nationals managed just fine without Hudson on Friday, thanks in large part to starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez's stellar game.
Sanchez took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and reliever Sean Doolittle then came in to record the last four outs in a 2-0 triumph.
In a late-night text message to Hudson, Martinez suggested a name for the newest addition to his family in tribute: "Anibella Sean."
"My wife got a good kick out of that," Hudson said.