Hudson looks for fresh start after back surgery

PAUL NEWBERRY AP Sports Writer Published:

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Tim Hudson remembers when he was the young gun in the clubhouse.

Now, he's the old dude, looking a bit out of place on one of baseball's most promising pitching staffs.

But don't count him out just yet. At 36, Hudson isn't quite ready to pass the torch to all those hot young prospects on the Atlanta Braves. Quite the contrary. After undergoing back surgery over the winter, the right-hander feels better than ever.

He won't be ready to go at the start of the season. Two vertebrae in his lower back were fused during an operation in late November, putting Hudson about a month behind schedule. For him, opening day is May 1. But Hudson has no regrets, having endured steadily increasing pain over last few seasons.