Orlando Hudson headed to White Sox
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org May 20, 2012 12:16AM
SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 21: Orlando Hudson #1 of the San Diego Padres hits an RBI triple during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Petco Park on April 21, 2012 in San Diego, California. The Padres won 5-1. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
The White Sox’ 23-man roster is so thin that pitcher Gavin Floyd was on manager Robin Ventura’s extra-hitters list during the team’s 7-4 victory Saturday against the Cubs.
With first baseman Paul Konerko all but unavailable until Tuesday at the earliest and third baseman Brent Morel staring a trip to the disabled list in the eye — and possibly a lengthy one at that — because of recurring back problems, Ventura started the game with catcher Tyler Flowers, utility man Brent Lillibridge and outfielder Kosuke Fukudome as his only extras.
“I’m serious,’’ he said of Floyd taking extra batting practice in case he was needed.
Help appears to be on the way, however, with second baseman Orlando Hudson, 34, telling players and media he’s headed to the Sox. Team sources confirmed the Hudson signing.
Hudson, a former All-Star and Gold Glove winner, was given his unconditional release by the San Diego Padres this week. He batted .211 with one home run and 11 RBI for San Diego this season.
Although Hudson has not played third base in the major leagues, he did play the position a lot in the minors and could fill in for Morel if he goes on the disabled list.
Morel’s back has kept him out of the lineup two consecutive games, and he and Ventura think a DL stint is possible.
“We’re going to kind of monitor it,’’ Ventura said, ‘‘and give him the day, see how he feels.’’
“We’re just waiting to see,’’ said Morel, whose bulging disc in his lower back had responded well before tightening up Friday after two long flights to and from California in two days. For Sox fans, it’s a bad flashback to former third baseman Joe Crede and his back problems.
“It’s tough,’’ Morel said. ‘‘I was starting to feel good and swing hard and felt normal for a couple of days there, and then it’s right back to where it is now.’’
Morel’s health might have accelerated general manager Ken Williams’ pursuit of Hudson, whom he went after as a free agent in 2009. Williams, who has a history of getting his guy after long-term pursuits, didn’t return messages to comment.
Williams is probably banking on a change of scenery working for Hudson, who was let go by San Diego to change the landscape in the Padres’ clubhouse and on the field.
“We felt it was time to make a change,” Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said after releasing Hudson on Thursday. “O-Dog has been a two-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and a contributor to playoff teams, but at this point, we want to give our younger players an opportunity.”
Hudson reportedly has agreed to a contract with the Sox, possibly a minor-league deal. The Padres signed him to a two-year, $11.5 million contract before the 2011 season. He was making $5.5 million this year, with a $2 million buyout for next season, but the Sox would be off the hook for that deal.
Hudson has a career .276 average, .343 on-base percentage and .415 slugging percentage. The Sox are hoping he has more than .211 in him, which is better than Morel’s .177. And a lot better than Floyd’s .057 career average.
Floyd is the No. 1 draft pick, fantasy league,’’ Ventura said of his draft pool of pitchers.
“We’re just going to play. That’s the way it is.’’