D-backs' Hudson might need season-ending surgery

Updated: September 8, 2007, 12:38 AM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Arizona Diamondbacks all-star second baseman Orlando Hudson may have to undergo season-ending thumb surgery.

General manager Josh Byrnes acknowledged Friday that surgery is the "worst case scenario" after Hudson tore a ligament in his left thumb sliding head-first into third base against San Diego on Tuesday night. Hudson played Wednesday but was replaced after seven innings.

"Right now it's assessing can he play with it, any risk we'd be running and how he's feeling," Byrnes said. "We're going to give it a couple of days, then regroup and make more of a decision on Sunday."

The loss of Hudson would be a severe blow to a young team that entered Friday night with a one-game lead in the NL West.

"I don't want to go there yet because he means so much to the team," manager Bob Melvin said. "We're going to wait a couple of days to see where it all plays out."

Hudson, a gold glove winner in both leagues, is hitting a team-high .294 with 10 home runs and 63 RBIs.

Hudson had only missed two games entering Friday night's contest.

With the injury to his glove hand, the issue is whether he could grip the bat or field grounders without extreme pain or further damage to the thumb.

"We all have his long-term interest at heart," Byrnes said. "To put a player at any sort of risk is something we take very seriously."

The team has three other second basemen -- Alberto Callaspo, Augie Ojeda and Emilio Bonifacio. Callaspo, who has been sidelined with a strained hamstring, would become the everyday second baseman in Hudson's absence, Melvin said.

Callaspo might be ready to start on Saturday, the manager said. Callaspo was recalled from Triple-A Tucson Sept. 4. He hit .341 for the Sidewinders after being sent down earlier this year.

Hudson, known by his teammates as "O-Dog," has a fast-talking, upbeat personality that has made him one of the team's leaders.

"I'm talking like something has happened here already as far as him not being with us. I'd rather not do that," Melvin said. "But either way he's still going to be with us. His personality and everything he brings will always be with us."

Melvin emphasized that he's not yet counting Hudson out.

"We still have hope," he said. "That's why we're waiting a couple of days."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press