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DODGERS SPRING REPORT

Dodgers' Orlando Hudson: Surgically repaired left wrist is 'no issue at all'

Former Gold Glove-winning second baseman with the Arizona Diamondbacks also says he is not surprised or upset that it took so long for him to find work.

February 23, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

PHOENIX — Orlando Hudson had the right answers for every question thrown his way in his first day with the Dodgers.

He said Sunday that his new team could "play in late October and beyond." He said he was honored to play the position that once belonged to Jackie Robinson. He said he didn't regret turning down an offer for a multiyear contract extension from the Arizona Diamondbacks a year ago.

And, he said pointing to the season-ending wrist injury he suffered in 2008, he wasn't surprised or upset that it took so long for him to find work.

"It's not something you see in baseball quite often," said Hudson, who spent the winter recovering from a dislocated bone and damaged tendons in his left wrist. "It's something you see in baseball. Why would you take a chance on somebody like that? If I was a GM, I would do the same thing."

Hudson, who is scheduled to play in the Dodgers' intrasquad game today, said that he started swinging a bat in mid-December and that his wrist is "no issue at all." Manager Joe Torre didn't sound as sure, saying he had concerns about it because Hudson plays a position that requires him to turn his glove in many directions.

The 31-year-old second baseman signed a one-year, $3.38-million contract with the Dodgers but said he had no problem taking a discounted deal after seeing widespread poverty on a trip to South Africa for his honeymoon.

"It makes you appreciate life a lot more than you do," he said. "We have it made here. We can go to nice restaurants. We're so unappreciative."

The trip was Hudson's first to Africa. He said he plans to return to the continent every off-season.

Hudson said he was offered multiyear deals by "several teams." He also denied that he had regrets about turning down an offer for a contract extension from his former team, which the Arizona Republic reported to be for $29 million over four years.

"For not signing a multiyear?" he said. "Why would I have regrets? Because I had a nasty wrist injury? All I have to do is go out and perform this year."

All or nothing

Shawn Estes said his spring will end with him making a major league roster or retiring.

If he doesn't make the Dodgers' roster, Estes said, "I'll look for a job with another team. If that doesn't happen, I'll retire."

Estes, a 36-year-old former All-Star who won 19 games in 1997 and 15 games two other times, said he's finally healthy. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2006 and didn't pitch in the majors in 2007.

He said he thought his career was back on track last year, when he was 1-1 with a 3.57 earned-run average in his first four starts with the San Diego Padres.

But a trip to San Francisco in May proved costly for the former Giants pitcher. Walking down the stairway from the clubhouse to the field at AT&T Park, Estes fell and broke his thumb. He spent the next three months on the disabled list and finished the year 2-3 with a 4.74 ERA in nine games, including eight starts.

Estes said the way he feels this spring is the way he felt last spring, which he is taking as a positive sign. The key for him, he said, is to not think too much about the pitcher he used to be.

"I can't look back at this point," he said. "Everybody wants to compare you to your best years. Sometimes you put so much pressure on yourself that you raise the expectations until it's unbearable."

Short hops

Cory Wade, who had a cortisone injection in his shoulder last week, is scheduled to resume throwing today. . . . Yhency Brazoban received a cortisone injection in his inflamed shoulder.

--

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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