After all, the Dodgers' high-octane second baseman, fondly known as "O-Dog" since back in his Minor League days, has been viewed as the heart and soul of any team that's had the fortune to retain his services for his personality as well as his glove and bat.
But it was still a little surreal, if amusing, to hear him singing the praises of the guy whose leg he tripped over en route to first base Wednesday night, landing on his left shoulder to avoid bracing his fall with his surgically repaired left wrist, resulting in his having to leave the game.
Leading off the ninth inning of the Dodgers' eventual 5-4 loss to host Washington, trailing 4-3 at the time, Hudson legged out a grounder on which shortstop Cristian Guzman short-hopped the throw to first base, but tripped over Adam Dunn's leg as he crossed the bag.
Pinch-runner Jason Repko would eventually come around to score and tie the score before the Nats pulled out a wild one in the bottom of the ninth.
After the game, Hudson insisted his wrist was fine, and joked about the play.
"[Adam's] a good friend of mine, but instead of putting his foot on the bag I guess he decided to put his whole leg on it, his donkey leg," said Hudson, who was playing in his first game in five days and hitting .286 with nine homers, 60 RBIs and eight steals in 140 games. "But he came over and apologized and kept apologizing the whole time."
Hudson and Dunn have been buddies for more than a decade, with their wives close friends and their kids playmates, so he knew the apologies were sincere.
Hudson, 31, was originally a 43rd-round Draft pick by Toronto in 1997, signing as a Draft-and-follow the next spring. Since then, he's enjoyed a successful seven-year big league career with the Jays, Arizona and now Los Angeles, bringing a career .282 average into the '09 campaign, his first with the Dodgers since signing as a free agent this offseason.
By Thursday afternoon, Hudson was not feeling any ill effects from the fall, though he was, as he expected he'd be, out of the lineup, replaced at second by Ronnie Belliard.
"I think I could go, but knowing [manager Joe] Torre, he'll hold me out for a game or two to be safe," Hudson said. "But it's good -- we iced it, heated it, iced it again and my range of motion is fine so that's a good sign."
Though indeed Hudson was out of the starting lineup on Thursday, Torre said he thought the switch-hitting Hudson would be available if needed, especially from the right side.
And you can be pretty sure he'll be back before long. After all, one thing his fans have learned. You can't keep a good O-Dog down.
Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less