St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Dakota Hudson.

(Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports)

No Call-Up This Time, But Cardinals Know They Can't Ignore Dakota Hudson

In his last four starts, Hudsons is 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA.

June 25, 2018 - 4:48 pm
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Monday could have been the perfect time for St. Louis to pull the tigger and give 23-year-old pitcher Dakota Hudson his MLB debut and make the start for the Cardinals. But instead, Michael Girsch and company will keep one of their hottest weapons in the minors and allow John Gant to make the start in place of the injured Michael Wacha. 

"I knew this was going to come up," Girsch says, talking to media before Monday's game when he was asked about Hudson not getting the call up. 

"Certainly it was a consideration, but John has more than earned an opportunity to take this and run with it and see what can happen. The better Dakota pitches, the more he forces our hand to make a decision to get him up here at some point. And if it makes sense, we will." 

In Hudson's most recent start for the Memphis Redbirds, he pitched eight innings Saturday night, allowing one run on seven hits and striking out five. In the 2-1 victory he lowered his already Pacific Coast League-best ERA to 2.04. In his last four starts, Hudson is 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA. 

Gant has a 4.39 ERA in 26.2 inning this season, including three starts in which he has given up 11 earned runs in 15 innings. In his most recent appearance was in two innings of relief in St. Louis forgettable 11-3 loss in Milwaukee last Thursday, he allowed four runs to score, but they all were unearned.  

Even though his phone didn't ring, Hudson says the fact that he's getting close what's keeping him focused. He was possibly the next-best starting pitcher, behind Jack Flaherty, in terms of making a big impression on the Cardinals coaching staff in spring training. He says he even got some help from the veteran Adam Wainwright one day when they were playing catch. 

He was practicing his two-seam fastball while tossing the ball with Wainwright, who also throws a two-seamer and when the 36-year-old recoginized what Hudson was trying to do, he stopped the game of catch to show Hudson how he grips it. 

"He throws the same pitch back to me and says, 'I know exactly what you're doing,'" Hudson says. "Next thing you know, my ball is consistently sinking instead of having that occasional cut to it. Since then I've been able to command my fastball better." 

Hudson is St. Louis' No. 3 overall prospect, behind only Alex Reyes and Tyler O'Neill, according to MLB.com