Jays will miss the O-Dog

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Blue Jays won't miss closer Miguel Batista, since they signed free-agent closer B.J. Ryan.

They won't be fretting over the loss of lost starts from David Bush, dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers, since they have signed free agent A.J. Burnett.

And they won't miss third baseman Corey Koskie, now also a Brewer, since Troy Glaus has been added.

TRADED

They will, however, miss Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson, whom they traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks with Batista for Glaus.

Hudson mixed well with others when he wore blue.

And he mixes equally as well wearing purple, black and teal.

Standing around the batting cage before yesterday's game the needles were out to welcome newcomer Hudson.

It went something like this:

"He brought his Gold Glove with him and he brought his gold tooth," zinged Luis Gonzalez, hero of the Diamondbacks' 2001 World Series victory over the New York Yankees.

"He got here talking 98 miles an hour ... we've got him down to about 90," Tony Clark said.

"He does mention Toronto once or twice."

"You can take the kid out of Toronto, but you can't take the Toronto out of the kid," yelled Shawn Green from behind the cage.

Later in the clubhouse, Hudson explained how he and Green, another former Blue Jay, will say "this isn't the way we did it in Toronto ..." or "in Toronto, we used to do things this way."

"Eventually, Clark or someone will yell 'Turn the page, you guys are has-beens like the rest of us, they liked you so much they got rid of both of you."

Hudson and Batista, who is at the World Baseball Classic pitching for the Dominican Republic, join newcomers Orlando (El Duque) Hernandez, Eric Brynes, Damion Easley and Johnny Estrada as Arizona tries to win the wild and wide-open National League West Division.

"We'll be around the top of our division," Hudson said before going 2-for-3 as Arizona beat the White Sox 12-5.

Hudson has impressed with more than the glove halfway through the spring.

"What he adds, beside his glove, is passion, a lot of it, and that's something this club lacked last year," coach Jay Bell said.

"He made a back-handed play the other day against the San Francisco Giants and made it look easy.

"I always thought a middle infielder's job was to make his double-play partner look good. He does that for Craig Counsell."

Hudson looked refreshed and admitted as much.

"I walked into this clubhouse and I took a big sigh of relief, then another," Hudson said. "I feel more relaxed, more comfortable with this team. So many (Arizona) people have told me they were happy I was traded. I wasn't surprised I was traded, I was surprised it took so long."

He followed the Blue Jays during the off-season, monitoring their progress. Every move was add, add, add. Only the loss of Hudson' glove could be considered a subtraction.

"I think (the Jays) will battle the Yankees for first in the AL East, in fact I know they will," Hudson said.

So, what will Hudson miss about the Jays?

"Johnny Gibbons, I loved him, and Brian Butterfield and Ernie Whitt and Mickey Brantley and Bruce Walton," Hudson said tapping names of his former manager and coaches off on his fingers.

"I'll really miss Vernon Wells, Russ Adams, Frank Catalanotto and Roy Halladay.

"I'll miss the fans, you know I never heard a boo once ... not once, even when I was struggling.

WILL BE MISSED

"I'll miss Jeff Ross and Kevin Malloy and all the guys in the clubhouse. I'll miss Jamie Campbell and Kevin Foley from Sportsnet."

Anyone else?

Hudson shook his head no.

What about the front office?

Hudson smiled and shook his head again.

Finally, non-stop talker Orlando Hudson was speechless.


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