Perhaps the education of Tim Hudson began in the visitors' clubhouse at Jacobs Field on April 20....
Hudson has just endured one of the worst performances of his short major league career, allowing the Indians four runs and five hits in 2? innings. It is his third straight terrible outing. His ERA is up to 8.44. He is angry and frustrated and confused. Last season everything was perfect. Batters chased his changeup away and his split-fingered fastball in the dirt. He rarely had to throw anything over the plate. "They didn't know much about me, so they didn't know what to expect," says Hudson. "But now they've seen me, and there are plenty of scouting reports. It's a lot tougher."
Peterson repeats the word kaizen over and over to his pitchers. It is Japanese, and it means "continuous improvement." In Cleveland, on this day, Hudson decides he needs to get better. He decides to make a big change in his pitching style: He will stop trying to fool everyone, use his fastball more often and work on spotting it perfectly.
Since that game against the Indians, Hudson is 16-4 with a 4.11 ERA. He has allowed a team-high 24 homers, but Peterson considers that merely a bump in the road. "He's using his fastball in more situations," Peterson says. "Sometimes it works. Sometimes they hit it out of the park. But it's all about Tim getting comfortable with the pitch. He'll have some rough times, but that'll make him into a stronger pitcher. He's 25. There's a long way to go and a lot more to learn."
Perhaps the education of Tim Hudson has just begun.