Tim Hudson close to 3-year deal with Braves | NevadaAppeal.com

Tim Hudson close to 3-year deal with Braves

Associated Press

Tim Hudson close to 3-year deal with Braves

ATLANTA (AP) – The Atlanta Braves and Tim Hudson are nearing agreement on a three-year contract that would protect the team’s strength at starting pitching.

A surplus of starters could give general manager Frank Wren options as he looks to improve the team’s lineup in the offseason.

Atlanta holds a $12 million option on the 34-year-old Hudson, a right-hander who was 2-1 with a 3.61 ERA in seven starts this season after his return from elbow ligament-replacement surgery.

Hudson’s agent, Paul Cohen, said Thursday the sides are getting closer to a deal but no agreement has been finalized.

“We’re working on a bunch of different issues,” Cohen told The Associated Press.

Wren had no comment on the deal.

The arrival of rookie right-hander Tommy Hanson from the minors and the return of Hudson gave the Braves six starters late in the season. Hanson, Jair Jurrjens and Javier Vazquez each won 11 or more games and had ERAs under 3.00. Derek Lowe was 15-10 with a 4.60 ERA.

Kenshin Kawakami made 25 starts before moving to the bullpen. He was 7-12 with a 3.86 ERA.

Hanson and Jurrjens are 23-year-old right-handers who are regarded as the long-term stars of the rotation. Hudson, who was 27-17 with the Braves in 2007-08, was the team’s ace before his elbow injury.

Starting pitching led the Braves to an 86-76 record in 2009 despite a lack of power in the lineup. The Braves finished only 22nd in the major leagues with 149 home runs. Their outfielders ranked 25th with 45 homers.

Wren signed outfielder Garret Anderson last winter and acquired outfielders Nate McLouth and Ryan Church and first baseman Adam LaRoche during the season.

Braves spokesman Brad Hainje confirmed the team also is negotiating with free-agent reliever Scott Proctor, who missed the 2009 season following elbow surgery. Proctor, a right-hander, pitched for the New York Yankees from 2004-07 before spending two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Proctor was 6-4 with a 3.52 ERA for the Yankees in 2006.

AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.