CLEARWATER, Fla. -- With the potential that his scheduled five-inning stint could be cut short by rain, the Braves opted not to start Tim Hudson in Friday afternoon's game against the Phillies at Bright House Field.
Instead, Hudson will pitch a five-inning simulated game at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex on Saturday morning.
"This doesn't affect me at all," Hudson said via a text message he sent while making the 90-minute trip back to Disney from Clearwater.
When rain cut Friday's batting practice short, Braves manager Bobby Cox began talking to Hudson about alternative plans. Knowing radar forecasts weren't promising, Cox didn't want his right-hander wasting his turn in the rotation by only throwing a limited number of pitches or innings.
"I didn't want him to warm up and then get rained out in the first inning, and there was a good chance of that," Cox said. "The best way to handle it was the way we did and he can [throw] 80 pitches tomorrow on the back field."
Another benefit to missing this start was the fact that Hudson avoided facing the division-rival Phillies, a team he's made at least four starts against in each of the past three seasons.
The Braves haven't announced an Opening Day starter, and despite the fact that he's on schedule, John Smoltz has said multiple times that he won't be getting that honor this year.
This change puts Hudson on schedule, with regular four days' rest, to be the Opening Day schedule. He'll be completing his simulated game on a back field just a couple hours before Smoltz makes his Grapefruit League debut against the Astros at Disney's Champion Stadium.
Cox doesn't seem concerned about the fact that Smoltz and Hudson are now on the same schedule with Jair Jurrjens, who will be starting Saturday's split-squad game against the Astros at Kissimmee.
Whether having a starter take one of their turns on a back field or simply pushing another starter's schedule back one day, Cox will be able to ensure each of his starters gets their proper work.
"We'll get it done," Cox said.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.