Notes: Hudson eager to put '07 in past

Notes: Hudson eager to put '07 in past

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Luke Hudson won't push it this year. Not after what happened in 2007.

Arriving at Spring Training a year ago, Hudson was on a roll. He'd turned into a valuable starter, become a Kansas City favorite and seemed bound for more success. Then shoulder pain struck.

He came out of camp on the disabled list, made one start in May, had shoulder surgery and missed the rest of the season.

Now for the good news.

"Everything feels awesome. It feels great right now, everything is coming out good. I haven't been throwing 100 percent since I've been here, but, progressively, a little more intense each time out," Hudson said at Royals camp.

"It better feel good, man. Last summer was brutal,"

Nothing like rehabbing in Arizona in 115-degree heat, having surgery in Cincinnati, watching far too many Royals games only on TV.

"You just feel like you're not on the team, really, and it stunk. I'm hoping this year will not be like that," he said.

Pitching coach Bob McClure is keeping close tabs on Hudson.

"The only thing I've asked Huddy is don't push it. We've already been through this before. If it takes a few extra weeks or a month, so be it, but don't push it," McClure said.

Hudson said his surgery involved removing scar tissue from the shoulder.

"I could have rehabbed forever probably, so the smartest thing was to get that cleaned up. It wasn't anything that major and I think that's why everything is feeling so good right now," he said.

So good that, despite missing virtually all of last season, he's optimistic about breaking camp on the pitching staff.

"I really hope I go through the throwing program just like everybody else and I'm ready, but, as I learned from last year, I'm not going to force anything either. If I'm not ready, then I'm not ready. But right now I feel like I'm rebounding great."

Baby pictures: Pitcher Neal Musser came to camp with photos of 2-week-old Gavin, delivered by his wife Valarie at Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Gavin seems to favor his pop's features, including a bald pate.

"He's got the same hair line right now," Musser said. "I told him, 'Don't worry, it'll grow out.' "

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High drama on TV: Royals players couldn't have paid more rapt attention if it were the bottom of the ninth, seventh game of the World Series with the score tied. They were captivated by the televised coverage of the Congressional hearing centering on Roger Clemens and former trainer Brian McNamee.

"Everybody in the clubhouse wants to know the truth. Everybody's been glued to the TV all morning, just like I'm sure in every other clubhouse," pitcher Gil Meche said.

"It's getting interesting because somebody is lying very bad. It's not going to be good when the truth comes out which, hopefully, it does one day because I'm sure Congress is going to make sure it comes out."

The players had time to watch because there were none of the usual meetings before Wednesday's voluntary workout. The coaching staff was elsewhere planning Spring Training.

"I don't know what to think, but I know one thing -- one of them is lying and I guess that'll end up coming out. There are a lot of conflicting statements on both sides, it seems like," pitcher John Bale said.

Pitcher Brandon Duckworth listened to most of the morning session and said: "They can say so much, but that doesn't discount we're having Congressional hearings over this, but yet, you have guys over in Iraq and Afghanistan dying. It's one of those things where you just kind of say we're putting a little bit more heat on this versus [the soldiers'] health and well-being. But something does need to be done and I think all players would agree with that."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.