Hudson ready to play for real

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. --- Tim Hudson is ready for Opening Day -- at the plate as well as on the mound.

Hudson allowed a run and four hits in six innings and went 2 for 2 to raise his spring batting average to .333 as the Atlanta Braves played to a 4-4 tie with the Florida Marlins in a game stopped after 11 innings on Wednesday.

"Maybe we'll hit him seventh or eighth," Braves manager Freddie Gonzalez said jokingly.

Hudson, who was named National League Comeback Player of the Year last season following reconstructive elbow surgery, singled and scored in the third inning and singled again in fifth, both off Florida starter Rickey Nolasco.

Hudson, who will make his final spring appearance in a minor league game, had four strikeouts and walked two in his longest outing of the spring.

"All in all, I'm happy," Hudson said of his preparation for the season.

Dewayne Wise led off the game with a double and came around to score after a wild pitch. Hudson was in charge after that and the Braves took the lead with three runs off Nolasco in the third inning.

Rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman hit his second homer of the spring and Hudson followed with his first hit. After a single by Nate McLouth, Chipper Jones delivered a two-run double with two outs.

Jones, who had knee surgery last August, played nine innings at third base for the first time this spring and is hitting .407 with 13 RBI.

Florida took the lead in the seventh on a two-run double by Wise off reliever George Sherrill. The veteran left-hander gave up four hits, walked one and hit a batter in the three-run inning.

Atlanta's Brandon Hicks homered with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings.

It was the Braves' fourth tie of the spring.


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