10/02/2003 3:41 PM ET
Notes: Hudson's hand feeling fine
Foulke good to go after three-inning outing
OAKLAND -- When Tim Hudson left Wednesday night's game in the top of the seventh with two outs, one on and Todd Walker at the plate, the right-hander's arm wasn't gassed after 106 pitches, but his fingers weren't cooperating.
By Kent Schacht / MLB.com
Hudson was suffering from muscle cramps in his right hand, which made the idea of facing Walker, who was 2-for-2 with a homer at that point, a bad idea.
"He was getting some cramping in his finger. He said he gripped for his split and couldn't get his fingers back together again," A's manager Ken Macha said. "I went out and said, 'How you doin?' And he said, 'You better get somebody else in there.' "
Two pitches later, Ricardo Rincon served up a go-ahead home run to Walker, leaving Hudson with a no-decision.
There's no worry that the right-hander won't get another chance to pitch in the postseason, though. According to A's trainer Larry Davis, Hudson's condition was a temporary one brought on by dehydration.
"People have a tendency to associate cramping with hot weather. Then in the cold weather, they don't put enough fluids in their body. Sometimes, people just don't hydrate properly," he said.
A's manager Ken Macha declined to say Hudson would start Game 4 of the American League Division Series, if the game is necessary, but with regular season No. 4 starter Rich Harden working out of the bullpen and Hudson likely to be relatively rested after 106 pitches, it's a safe bet he'd be on the hill on Sunday in Boston if needed.
"We'll see how he comes out of it. ... he battled his rear end off," Macha said. "They got some hits off of him, but beside the homers he gave up, they got nothing."
Upon further review: Macha clarified on Thursday morning that the decision to give Ramon Hernandez the sign to bunt in Wednesday's game-winning at-bat was entirely from third-base coach Ron Washington.
"I was thinking right along the same lines. I told (hitting coach Dave Hudgens), 'Man, look how far back that guy is. What do you think about a bunt here?' The next thing you know, he laid it down," Macha said.
Washington said when Eric Chavez arrived at third on a stolen base, he told him Hernandez would be laying one down if Bill Mueller played back. The rest is history.
The gutsy call, Washington said, came down to being aggressive at the right time, and great execution.
"Ramon laid down a perfect bunt," Washington said. "He (Mueller) had no chance."
Macha laughed when he was asked if the success of Hernandez's bunt may change a few ideas around the A's front office -- famously opposed to small ball.
"That's not going to change any philosophy around here," he said.
Meanwhile, Washington said his philosophy on the play was similar to that of the other main tenant at Network Associates Coliseum.
"Just win, baby -- just like (Raiders owner) Al Davis," Washington said.
Rubber-armed Foulke? Despite throwing 51 pitches over three innings on Wednesday night, Macha said closer Keith Foulke could pitch on Thursday if necessary.
"He said he felt pretty good. He says he's ready to go," he said.
Macha noted that Foulke had only pitched one inning since last Wednesday, which may contribute to his ability to contribute if needed.
"He's not going to be going out there and pitching three innings, I'll tell you that," Macha said.
Good signs: Macha said that even though Harden didn't have full command of his offspeed pitches in his one inning of relief work, he was impressed with the 21-year-old's ability to work out of trouble.
"I tell you what, he wound up and let it rip. He was throwing 98, 97 mph -- that's what we want to see," Macha said. "Put a 21-year-old kid in a spot like that and have him handle it, particularly when he walks the first guy. To have him bounce back and get out of it shows something."
Still, the 12th was an Alka-Seltzer moment for Macha on the bench.
"He walks the leadoff guy and then throws one back to the screen, and I'm going, 'Oh, my word,' " he said, smiling.
Harden earned the win with the inning of scoreless relief, allowing two walks and striking out one.
Kent Schacht is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.