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07/23/08 11:27 PM ET

Elbow tightness ends Hudson's night

Veteran right-hander optimistic that he will make next start

MIAMI -- If Tim Hudson is forced to miss an extended period of time, the Braves can probably erase any hopes of making a run toward the playoffs. But for now the veteran right-hander remains optimistic, and he plans to make his next scheduled start.

Hudson was forced to leave Wednesday night's outing against the Marlins at Dolphin Stadium with tightness just below his right elbow. He'll be re-evaluated by the team's medical staff in Philadelphia on Thursday.

"I don't foresee any problems unless I wake up tomorrow and can't move [my elbow]," Hudson said. "I don't foresee it being that big of a deal."

After throwing 68 pitches in six scoreless innings, Hudson made his early exit. During the top of the seventh inning, with the Braves leading, 6-0, he was seen rubbing his elbow while talking to Mike Hampton and some of his other teammates.

Hudson said that he first started experiencing discomfort in the third inning, then began feeling a little more during the fifth and sixth. If the game had been closer, he said, he would have likely continued to pitch.

"It's fine," he said. "I threw a lot more splitters than I have in the past. That might have had something to do with it."

Hudson, who is tied for second in the National League with 16 quality starts, had been the Braves' only veteran starter to avoid injury this year. John Smoltz underwent season-ending shoulder surgery, and Tom Glavine has been out since June 10 with a left elbow injury.

Hampton, who hasn't pitched since 2005, could return to the starting rotation as soon as Saturday. If he does, he'll be starting in place of Jo-Jo Reyes, who could be used if Hudson is unable to make his next scheduled start, on Monday against the Cardinals.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.