Hudson brings energy, versatility to White Sox
Eleven-year veteran expected to see time mostly at third base
CHICAGO -- As Orlando Hudson moved toward his locker in the White Sox clubhouse prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Twins, he saw a large group of media waiting for him.
"I feel like Albert Pujols," said Hudson with a laugh.
Hudson, 34, certainly doesn't come to the White Sox with the same hype or impact as one of the game's top hitters. In fact, Hudson probably will split his time between third base and giving Gordon Beckham a break every now and then at second.
But the veteran, who was released by the Padres last Thursday, chose to join the White Sox in a reserve role over other opportunities where he could have played more regularly. Those chances to play started to pop up as soon as he was done in San Diego.
"Other teams offered more playing time," Hudson said. "But I played with Jesse Crain [with the Twins], me and Adam Dunn have known each other since we first signed. Same agent.
"Me and Jake Peavy have been together a long time. So when you're close to guys, it makes you feel more at home. Plus, I came up with Alex Rios with Toronto, so it's like homegrown here. It was easy to make a good decision."
An active roster spot opened up for Hudson when third baseman Brent Morel was played on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 18, with a lumbar back strain. Hudson was brought in on a one-year contract covering the remainder of the 2012 season.
He had never played third base at the big league level until the eighth inning of Tuesday's 9-2 loss to the Twins and hadn't played there since 2001 as part of Toronto's Triple-A Syracuse team. But the four-time Rawlings Gold Glove winner at second base is ready for the challenge, being scheduled to get his first start at third on Wednesday and hitting ninth.
"They might ask me to catch, they might ask me to pitch a little bit, I don't know," Hudson said. "Whatever they ask me to do, I'll go out and perform and help the ballclub win some games and bring some energy. Just have fun and play the game the way I know how to play.
"A-Rod moved over, Cal Ripken moved over, Omar Vizquel moved over. So, a lot of guys move over. Nomar [Garciaparra]. I guess I'm probably going to join that gang, too."
The switch-hitter, who batted .211 with five triples in San Diego, brings additional energy and his veteran swagger to a team that plays better as a loose group. The White Sox hope he fits in on the field, as well as in the clubhouse.
"We'll find out. I know he talks," said low-key White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Hudson. "He's got good energy and that's something everybody's talked about.
"There's some flexibility. He's played a lot of infield spots. He's going to have to be able to fill in at third and second and pinch-runner, things like that. Especially with [Brent Lillibridge], Lilli can play some outfield so you start mixing and matching whatever you need."