Notes: Hudson having Cy-worthy season
X-ray shows no damage in Andruw's elbow; Aybar shut down
ATLANTA -- It's been nine years since a Braves pitcher has won a National League Cy Young Award. But if Tim Hudson continues to pitch like he has the past six weeks, he'll be in position to potentially end this drought.While it might be too early to project postseason awards, Hudson has certainly already given the Braves reason to be happy about the fact that he'll be in Atlanta for at least another two seasons. Last year, they were just wondering how long it would take for him to once again resemble the dominant pitcher they envisioned when they acquired him from Oakland before the 2005 season. "He's been on [a roll] all year," said Braves manager Bobby Cox, who will watch Hudson bid to win an eighth consecutive decision in Wednesday night's game against the Giants. With his victorious effort against the Mets on Thursday, Hudson won a seventh consecutive decision for the sixth time in his career and first since 2003. Over the course of his past nine starts, the veteran right-hander has gone 7-0 with a 2.26 ERA and seen opponents hit just .259 against him. While impressive, this current roll isn't the best one he's ever experienced. During his final seven starts of the 2000 season, he went 7-0 with a 1.63 ERA and limited opponents to a .116 batting average. "Yeah, but that was back when I was good," said Hudson, while wearing the confident smile that he's deservedly displayed on a consistent basis this year. While going 13-12 with a career-worst 4.86 ERA last year, Hudson was everything but good. Opponents hit .273 against him and compiled a .340 on-base percentage that was aided by the 79 walks that he issued. In addition, he surrendered a career-high 25 homers. During the offseason, Hudson proclaimed things would be different this year, and he's certainly lived up to the hype. Opponents have hit just .248 against him and reached base at a .296 clip, a number that has been improved by the fact that he's issued just 38 walks. In addition, he joins Brad Penny and Chris Young as the only Major Leaguers who have completed at least 100 innings and surrendered just four home runs. "He's throwing a lot of strikes with a lot of movement," Cox said. Not too concerned: This past weekend, Andruw Jones said he might get an MRI to determine why his left elbow has bothered him for more than two months. But Tuesday afternoon, the Gold Glove outfielder indicated he likely won't be getting the MRI. Instead, the Braves opted to X-ray the elbow before Tuesday's game, and it showed no structural damage. He's been feeling the discomfort since reaching over the outfield wall to rob a homer on May 27. Jones, who entered Tuesday hitting just .214, played in a charity golf tournament hosted by Hudson, John Smoltz and Jeff Francoeur on Monday. Aybar's season complete: Willy Aybar's forgettable year got worse Tuesday, when he underwent season-ending surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right hand. Aybar injured the hand while playing in the Dominican Winter League and was still battling discomfort when he arrived late for Spring Training. But the visa problems that delayed his arrival to Braves camp were the least of the many problems Aybar has experienced this year. While he was on the disabled list in early April, the Braves learned he had a substance abuse problem. This forced him to be suspended and spend most of the past three months undergoing rehab. Just last weekend, the Braves had cleared Aybar to begin working out again at their Spring Training facilities at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. But with the hand still being a problem, he wasn't able to do too much. Mixed reception: When Barry Bonds came to the plate during Tuesday night's series opener against the Giants, he heard a number of expected boos from Braves fans. But at least during his first plate appearance, there were also a number of fans who chose to applaud Bonds, who just last week broke Hank Aaron's all-time home run record, which had been set 33 years ago across the street from where this week's series is being played. Coming up: The Braves will continue their three-game series against the Giants on Wednesday night at 7:35 p.m. ET. Hudson (13-5, 3.01 ERA) will oppose Russ Ortiz (2-2, 5.18).
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.