PHOENIX -- For Tim Hudson and his legion of followers, his start Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks is something to be savored. At age 40, and on record as saying that this very well could be his final season, Hudson is taking nothing for granted -- particularly after having been removed temporarily from San Francisco's rotation.
"I'm excited to get back out there and start," Hudson said after the Giants announced his assignment following Monday's 6-1 loss to Arizona. "At this point where I am, I never know if it'll be my last."
Hudson hasn't started since July 26, when he lasted only five innings but received the decision in San Francisco's 4-3 Interleague triumph over Oakland, which gave the right-hander at least one victory over every big league team. Ryan Vogelsong's 0-3 record with an 11.45 ERA in his last three starts prompted the Giants to give Hudson another chance.
"It's fair to say that Vogey has had his struggles in the last couple of starts," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said while announcing the Hudson-for-Vogelsong switch.
Hudson could be vulnerable to rust. He has made two relief appearances, last Tuesday at Los Angeles and Thursday in Colorado, since the Oakland start.
Asked what he foresees from Hudson against Arizona, Bochy said, "You're hoping for five or six innings." Yet even when Hudson started regularly earlier this season, he completed at least six innings 10 times in 17 games.
"I'm going to go as hard as I can for as long as I can," said Hudson, who ranks as the Majors' winningest active pitcher with 220 victories. "Hopefully it's longer than what people expect of me."
Hudson, who's 6-8 with a 4.69 ERA, said that he was told last week about possibly starting but didn't know for sure until a couple of days ago.
"We gave him a heads-up before he pitched in Colorado," Bochy said. "I'm sure he was looking forward to starting again."
Especially at Chase Field, where Hudson owns a 5-1 record with a 1.59 ERA in seven career starts.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.