Notes: Hudson hopes luck changes

Notes: Hudson hopes luck changes

LOS ANGELES -- When Diamondbacks second baseman Orlando Hudson hears someone say "pound the ball down and in," he probably cringes just a little, even if the comment is directed at a pitcher.

The switch-hitter has developed a painful a knack for fouling pitches off his front foot while batting left-handed.

"We saw it all spring and have seen it in the [regular] season," manager Bob Melvin said. "We must have seen it happen six or seven times in Spring Training and at least five times in the last four or five games. I would like to see him quit doing it."

But Hudson has no idea why this is happening.

"I didn't foul a ball off my foot during my 2 1/2 years in Toronto, and all of a sudden, I get here and I'm wearing myself out," he said. "I have fouled balls off my big toe, the top of my [right] foot and my shin. But I'm all right."

Hudson tapes both of his ankles and says he simply will not wear any other protection.

"We travel with a protective brace," hitting coach Mike Aldrete said, "but he doesn't want to use it."

Aldrete said he never has seen a batter get clobbered by his own foul balls as often as Hudson and doesn't want to make it much of an issue.

"It's not something you want to have in your head when you're hitting," Aldrete said. "What I am trying to do is get him comfortable with a point of contact.

"I remember fouling pitches off my foot maybe three or four times in my career and every time I did it, it hurt like heck for several days. Luckily, the next time I did it would be a couple of weeks later. He does it with such frequency that you'd think he'd want to use some kind of protection."

Not a chance.

Hudson might limp a little after taking one -- or more -- shots off his foot, but says he won't wear a plastic shin guard. And a little pain hasn't kept him out of action. He has played in all 17 games this season and ranks second to Chad Tracy on the team with 60 at-bats.

With shortstop Craig Counsell missing his second consecutive game (hamstring), Melvin put Jeff DaVanon in the leadoff spot on Saturday night and moved Hudson into the No. 2 spot against right-hander Jae Seo.

That would seem to increase his chances of self-inflicting more pain, but tough petunias.

"It's just part of the game," he said of the painful foul balls. "Knock on wood, but it hasn't happened when I bat right-handed."

Stay in rotation: The Diamondbacks are off on Thursday and begin a three-game series against the Giants in San Francisco on Friday night.

That gives Melvin and pitching coach Bryan Price an opportunity to skip someone in the five-man pitching rotation, but it won't happen.

Melvin said that unless something unforeseen happens, the rotation would stay the way it has from the start. The probable starters against San Francisco would be Miguel Batista, Russ Ortiz and Brandon Webb.

Not so fast: When right-hander Orlando Hernandez was on third base with two out in the fifth inning on Friday night and the Dodgers infield was playing batter Chad Tracy as a pull hitter, El Duque asked third-base coach Chip Hale if he should try to steal home.

"The third baseman was playing over by shortstop and [Hernandez] kept getting a bigger and bigger lead," Hale said. "He asked me, 'Do you want me to go?' I said, 'No, we need you to keep pitching.' "

Tracy flied out to center field, stranding Hernandez, the tying run, at third.

Where are we? The usually splendid weather in Southern California is one of the reasons so many people live here, but the first two games of this series have been more like a cold-weather climate.

The temperature at game time on Saturday night was a brisk 58 degrees and only a week ago, the Dodgers and Giants weathered out a two-hour rain delay.

"There have been rainouts in San Francisco and weather like this here, and that's something we're not used to," said Melvin, a California native. "I didn't even know they had a tarp here until yesterday. They do, but it so rarely comes into play."

Back in the box: Melvin said third-base coach Carlos Tosca, who sustained a broken bone in his right foot during Spring Training, might return to the coaching box for next weekend's series in San Francisco. Triple-A Tucson manager Hale has been the interim third-base coach and will return to the Sidewinders when Tosca resumes his duties.

Uplifting double: Justin Upton, the D-Backs' first-round draft selection last June, collected his first professional hit on Saturday night, a double in his second at-bat for Class A South Bend. After walking in the first inning, Upton came to the plate in the third with runners on first and second and promptly lined Jason Snyder's first offering into the left-field corner for an RBI double. He came around to score three batters later as Orlando Mercado smacked a three-run homer to left in South Bend's 9-7 victory.

Up next: The first stop on a three-legged trip through the National League West ends on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. MST with Ortiz (0-2, 4.97 ERA) opposing Dodgers right-hander Brett Tomko (1-1, 5.82 ERA) at Dodger Stadium.

The D-Backs, who had the best intradivision record in the NL West last season (41-32) are 5-6 so far this season.

Jim Street is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.