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Hudson named NL Player of the Week

Hudson named NL Player of the Week

Tim Hudson could not have gotten off to a more disappointing start last season. The Atlanta right-hander won just one of his five April starts and watched as his ERA inflated to 5.87 by month's end.

It's been a bit different for Hudson this year. For as poor as he pitched last April -- and during much of his tenure in Atlanta -- Hudson's been that brilliant during the opening month of 2007.

The 31-year-old Hudson is off to the finest start of his nine-year big-league career. And after a week that saw him go 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA over 14 innings, Hudson garnered the National League's Player of the Week Honors on Monday.

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"I couldn't ask for a better start to my season," Hudson said after the Braves' April 10 win over Washington, in which he tossed seven scoreless innings.

When he followed this up on Sunday with seven innings of one-run ball in Atlanta's 8-4 win against the Marlins, it became apparent that this is no fluke.

"Huddy continues to just dominate right now," Braves manager Bobby Cox said afterward. "Every start he's gone out there, he's pitched just like he did today, which was just brilliant."

For Atlanta, it's been a welcome sight. Acquired from the A's in a trade before the 2005 season and quickly signed to a four-year, $47 million contract extension, Hudson had been somewhat of a disappointment in his first two seasons in Atlanta.

Hudson showed a few nice flashes, but never displayed any of the consistency that earned him his big-money deal. Since his first 10 starts of 2005, Hudson gave up one run or less in just 12 of his 54 starts. The right-hander's 4.86 ERA last year was the highest of his career.

"The last couple of years, he's had two or three starts all year where I've said, 'That's the guy that I remember,'" Chipper Jones said. "Everything else was just kind of mediocre."

But this season?

"Through his first three starts this year, it's been that same type of [encouraging] feeling," Jones said. "He looks like the guy that we signed."

Overall, Hudson has allowed just two runs over a trio of seven-inning outings. And nobody has been more vital than Hudson in the club's division-leading 8-3 start.

"This is obviously a good three-game stretch for anybody," Hudson said. "Particularly for me, the way things worked out for me last year."

Among those also considered for the award, which is presented by Bank of America, were Atlanta's Chipper Jones (.368, 3 HR, 7 RBI), Cincinnati's Kyle Lohse (1-0, 2.40 ERA in two starts), Washington's Ryan Theriot (.571, 8 hits), Arizona's Orlando Hudson (.455, 10 hits) and Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks (.389, 2 HR, 8 runs).

David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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