Hudson shows off his strikeout ability

Hudson shows off his strikeout ability

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Though it was only a Cactus League game, Tim Hudson demonstrated during his three shutout innings Thursday against Cincinnati that he still can record a strikeout when he needs one.

Hudson ended the second inning by fanning Jason Bourgeois with a runner on first base. He then struck out Ramon Santiago and Chris Heisey back-to-back in the third inning to strand Reds on first and second.

During Hudson's first three Major League seasons, he averaged 8.7, 7.5 and 6.9 strikeouts per nine innings, respectively. Since then, he has topped the 6.0 mark just four times in 12 years -- though he has accomplished that twice in the last three years.

"Obviously, early in my career I [had] a lot more swings and misses," Hudson said. "Now I'm trying to get some quicker outs."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.