On an agonizing flight from Mobile back to Phoenix earlier this week, Diamondbacks right-hander Daniel Hudson tweeted that was the worst plane ride in his life.
Over the subsequent days, reality sunk in and the news grew worse.
During a rehab start with AA Mobile on June 4, Hudson re-tore the ulnar nerve in his right elbow. Last June, Hudson underwent what has become known as Tommy John surgery to repair an initial ulnar tear and the timetable for recovery is usually one year.
That put Hudson back in Sedona Red around the all-star game, but he vowed to return earlier. Mid-June, he predicted was the target date, and approached the demanding rehab sessions with dedication and purpose.
Then, the significant set-back earlier this week.
“It’s like a kick in the stomach,” said manager Kirk Gibson prior to opening a three game series with the Giants in Chase Field Friday. “It’s been a long journey for him and now highly disappointing. I suspect he’ll try and get it fixed and, as an organization, we’ll do everything to support him.”
If Hudson decides to undergo Tommy John surgery for the second time, the road back will just as arduous and difficult. Gibson denied the Diamondbacks adjusted to Hudson’s timetable and only said, “everything was done by all parties, but it didn’t work out.”
Given Hudson’s driven athletic personality, he will likely pick himself off the mat and start the rehab process once again. When the news broke just before Friday’s game, Hudson was not in Chase Field and reports circulated he retreated to consider his future.
If Hudson decides to continue, he would join a small group of players who underwent Tommy John surgery twice. One factor remains the physical demands, but there is another feature at work.
“Much also depends on the person itself,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “Depends how persistent they are and how dedicated.”
Bochy cited San Francisco closer Brian Wilson as one who underwent Tommy John surgery and trying to work his way back to the majors. While several have come back from the devastating experience, Hudson’s future remains precarious at best.
Perhaps Gibson put the latest consequence in perspective when he simply said, “(Hudson) is crushed.”