ST. LOUIS (AP) - Daniel Hudson and his wife, Sara, tried to plan the birth of their third child around Washington’s postseason schedule.
When it didn’t work out, he knew exactly what he needed to do.
Hudson stayed with his wife for Millie’s arrival Friday, and then rejoined the Nationals in time to close out their 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series on Saturday.
The 32-year-old right-hander, a key member of Washington’s bullpen, said he knew all along he had to be there - a decision the organization supported.
“To be able to have that experience with my family and be there for the whole thing was everything I could have imagined,” he said. “Obviously, it is my third kid. And top three things in my life, 1A, 1B and 1C, are, was being there for the birth of all three of my daughters.”
Hudson was reinstated from the postseason paternity list Saturday, and Wander Suero was removed from the Nationals’ NLCS roster.
While Hudson was away, Aníbal Sánchez and Sean Doolittle combined for a one-hitter in Washington’s 2-0 victory in Game 1. Manager Dave Martinez then texted Hudson to suggest Anibala Sean Hudson as a possible name for the family’s new arrival.
“That was a funny message he sent me last night,” Hudson said. “Yeah, we were actually undecided on a name at that point. We didn’t actually figure out a name until we went to bed last night. We kind of finally decided on Millie and, yeah, my wife got a good kick out of that, that was pretty funny.”
The baby was originally due Oct. 14. Hudson said they tried to schedule an induction, but they weren’t able to get a hospital bed in time to make it back for the NLCS opener.
Hudson’s decision to be with his family generated a smattering of criticism on social media, but he said the Nationals were “100% on board on with what my priorities are.”
“I went from not having a job on March 21st to this huge national conversation on family values going into the playoffs,” Hudson said. “Like, hey, life comes at you fast, man, like I don’t know how that happened and how I became the face for whatever conversation was going on.
“Everybody’s got their opinions, man, and I really value my family and my family time.”
Washington’s bullpen had the worst ERA in the National League this year at 5.66, but Hudson provided a boost after he was acquired from Toronto at the July 31 trade deadline. He went 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA and six saves in 24 regular season appearances with the Nationals.
Hudson entered Game 2 of the NLCS in the ninth inning and retired Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna to finish Washington’s three-hitter. It was his third save of the playoffs and fifth consecutive scoreless appearance this month.
“Whenever he’s called upon, he’s ready to go and he’s a guy that throws strikes, attacks the strike zone, and he’s been very good for us,” Martinez said.
The 55-year-old Martinez played in the majors for 16 years, and he said he was there for the birth of each of his children. He said he told Hudson he should be with his family.
“I told him I think that it’s important that you’re with your wife, it’s a big moment in your family,” Martinez said. “I know you have other kids, but it’s huge. … I told him that his teammates will pick him up and we’ll be OK.”
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