Hudson pitches well in spring debut, gets contract settled at same time

Jordan Hicks Rob Rains

By Rob Rains

JUPITER, Fla. – Dakota Hudson had two reasons to be happy on Tuesday.

First was the way he pitched in his first outing of the spring for the Cardinals. He worked two scoreless innings in a 4-3 win over the Marlins, allowing one hit, walking one and striking out one.

The second was that while he was on the mound, Hudson’s agent was able to come to an agreement on a one-year contract for this season, avoiding the possibility that he would have to go to a salary arbitration hearing.

Hudson said that while he knew the deadline for the two sides to reach a deal before having to exchange salary figures was at 1 p.m., exactly the same time he was finishing his warmups to start the game, he was able to concentrate on what he was trying to do on the mound.

“I have a guy that I trust very much so it’s a lot easier to be able to say, ‘Hey, I trust you to do your job and I’m going to go do my job,’” Hudson said. “I’m out there to play baseball.

“I was coming in off the field and I think they did it while I was out there. I felt like the organization treated me with great respect and we were able to get something done. I’m glad it’s over with.”

The win improved the Cardinals’ record to 4-0, their longest winning streak to begin spring training since the 1998 team started 6-0.

Manager Oli Marmol, who is fond of saying he likes to see how people respond to adversity, hasn’t had a loss yet. Before that happens, though, he is pleased by more than just the perfect won-loss record.

“Winning is better than losing,” Marmol said. “Honestly I can’t think of what our (spring) record was last year or the year before. I’m a lot  more excited about what we are seeing defensively, on the pitching side, offensively we are making some noise and playing the game right.”

Other news and notes from Tuesday’s game:

High: Nolan Arenado hit his first home run of the spring, a two-run shot, in the fifth inning.

Low: Zack Thompson allowed three runs on three hits and a pair of walks while recording only two outs, both strikeouts, in the eighth.

At the plate: The Cardinals did not have a hit until the fourth, when Tommy Edman reached on an infield single and Paul Goldschmidt doubled. Dylan Carlson drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly, followed by Arenado’s homer … Brendan Donovan also homered, a solo shot in the fifth … The Cardinals had only one other hit, a single by Paul DeJong and had only four at-bats with a runner in scoring position.

On the mound: Hudson threw 40 pitches, 23 for strikes … Jake Woodford, in the competition for the fifth starter, also worked two scoreless innings in his first appearance of the spring. He allowed two singles and struck out three … Johan Oviedo worked two perfect innings in following Woodford to the mound.

Off the field: Hudson was one of five Cardinals to reach contract agreements before the arbitration deadline, joining Jack Flaherty, Jordan Hicks, Giovanny Gallegos and Alex Reyes. The two who did not come to an agreement were Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader, who will now have their salary for this season set after an arbitration hearing … The Cardinals also renewed the contract of Dylan Carlson … In their first roster cuts of the spring, the Cardinals optioned lefthanded pitcher Brandon Waddell to Memphis and reassigned five non-roster players back to the minor-league camp – pitcher Trent Baker, first baseman Luken Baker, infielders Delvin Perez amd Jordan Walker and catcher Pedro Pages. The move leaves 55 players in camp.

Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright will make his second start of the spring on Wednesday when the Cardinals play the Astros in West Palm Beach.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.