Tim Hudson underwent surgery on his fractured right ankle Friday afternoon. The procedure was expected to take about 90 minutes and was performed by Braves orthopedic surgeon Dr. Marvin Royster.
Braves general manager Frank Wren said Hudson is expected to need three to four months to recover. His ankle was fractured and dislocated, and the operation would reveal the extent of potential ligament damage.
“Tim is out of surgery,” his wife, Kim Hudson, tweeted about 6 p.m. Friday. “Dr. Royster did an amazing job, and everything went well. He’ll be back and better than ever!”
Hudson, 38, is in the option year of his contract and will be a free agent, but his teammates and general manager expect Hudson to make a full recovery and be back in action come spring.
“I know he wants to keep playing,” Kris Medlen said. “He wants to play two or three more years, do it as long as he can.”
Tim and Kim Hudson are active members in the Atlanta community through their Hudson Family Foundation and on Friday saw the sentiment returned. They received countless messages and tweets, including a photo of young cancer patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta holding up signed baseballs wishing Hudson well.
“We’re overwhelmed by your prayers and well wishes,” Kim Hudson tweeted Friday afternoon.
Hudson suffered the gruesome ankle injury Wednesday night at Citi Field while covering first base. Mets outfielder Eric Young stepped on Hudson’s right ankle trying to beat out a ground ball. Young apologized profusely on the field at the time and stayed at Hudson’s side until he was carted off.
Hudson flew to Atlanta on the Braves’ charter Thursday night and was in good spirits, according to manager Fredi Gonzalez.
“I’m sure he’s doing a lot of reflecting, but he’ll be fine,” Gonzalez said. “He’s got a good support system with his wife, his family, everybody in Braves country, (Auburn) country.”
Hudson is the fifth Brave to undergo season-ending surgery in 2013, along with relievers Eric O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters, Cristhian Martinez and utility infielder Ramiro Pena.
Trade watch: The Braves have broadened their search on the trade market for both a proven starter and a bullpen piece for the stretch run, given Hudson’s injury. But finding the right fit in a narrow market over the next five days could be a challenge, Braves general manager Frank Wren said.
Wren said this is the thinnest market he’s encountered in 22 years of working trades at the major league level — which he attributes to the additional wild card for the playoffs keeping more teams in the hunt as Wednesday’s non-waiver deadline approaches.
“I’ve had years where I’ve had two legal pages written out of names of potential trade possibilities,” Wren said. “This year I’ve got half a page of teams and names that really fit for us, so it’s a small number.”
One of the primary candidates on the Braves’ wish list is Jake Peavy, but the veteran White Sox right-hander is coveted by the likes of the Cardinals, Red Sox and Athletics. The Braves have the financial flexibility to cover Peavy’s salary of $14.5 million for 2014 (he also has a $15 million vesting option for 2015); it would be a matter of whether they could find the right fit in terms of minor league prospects they’re willing to give up.
Other available starters include Ervin Santana, though the Royals’ asking price is expected to be high, and Bud Norris, though the Astros’ middle-of-the order starter might not be the impact pitcher the Braves are looking to add. The Braves also have scouted Kyle Lohse of the Brewers, who could be another option.
“The payroll is not going to be the issue for us; it’s going to be the talent we have to give up,” Wren said. “It’s also understanding how much of an upgrade a particular player is for us. It’s a thin market. Are there pitchers out there that would make us better? Yes. The number of them is pretty low.”
The Braves’ major league scouts, who have been on the road for the past six weeks, are convening in Atlanta this weekend and will begin to meet with Wren on Sunday to comb over trade scenarios and discuss potential matches with other teams.
The Braves also have looked for another bench piece — a left-handed bat and backup infielder — but Wren said that might be something the Braves push back until August, when they could still make a waiver trade for such an addition.
Injury updates: Both B.J. Upton and Jordan Schafer took key steps in their recoveries from injury Friday by running on the field before batting practice.
Upton did his first sprinting and cutting to test his right adductor (groin) muscle. Schafer did his first jogging on his right ankle since he was diagnosed with a stress fracture.
Upton is eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday, but will need at least a few more days of getting his legs back in shape before heading out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment.
“It’s night and day from what it was a couple weeks ago, even a couple days ago; it’s coming along well,” Upton said. “I don’t see it being too much longer. Hopefully by the beginning of next week. Maybe I can come back for the tail end of the series (vs. Colorado) or definitely on the road trip. We’ll see how it plays out.”
Schafer is just past four weeks into his recovery after fouling a ball off his ankle June 26 in Kansas City. He said his ankle felt a lot better walking around, and he proved it when he ran with his full weight on his ankle after two days of therapy while submerged in chest-high water.
“He said other than his legs being a little (like) jelly, he felt good,” Gonzalez said. “So that’s a good sign also.”
Suspension: Braves minor league right-hander Humberto Carpio was suspended 50 games after testing positive for Stanozolol, MLB announced. He was pitching in the Dominican Summer League.