Outcomes in baseball are often decided by timing and/or inches. Unfortunately for Atlanta Bravesstarting pitcher Tim Hudson, both were working against him on Wednesday night when he suffered a fractured right ankle while covering first base during their 8-2 victory.
The play happened in the eighth inning of a game Hudson had dominated up to that point. Through 7 1/3 innings, the New York Mets had managed only four hits and three walks, and had yet to crack the scoreboard against the 38-year-old right-hander. That's when Eric Young Jr. pulled a sharp grounder to first baseman Freddie Freeman that he struggled to corral initially, and the entire mood changed for the Braves as the rest of the play unfolded.
With Young's elite speed moving up the line, the margin for error is slim. Hudson had to cover the bag for Atlanta to have any chance at getting the out. He was able to get there in time, but his right foot ended up in a very vulnerable position atop the bag as Young crossed. The result was Young stepping directly on his leg above the ankle, followed by the the sickening visual of his ankle bending in a very unnatural manner.
I think Young's immediate reaction to the play told you all you needed to know. He knew it was bad right away, and he obviously felt awful about his role. To the credit of several Braves, most noticeably second baseman Dan Uggla and manager Fredi Gonzalez, they were quick to console Young after checking on Hudson. There was no intent to injure and the Young's effort wasn't reckless, it was simply two players going hard with an outcome that nobody in the stadium felt good about witnessing.
Warning: This video may be difficult to watch. Use your own discretion before viewing.
Photo: Getty Images