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Nats’ Hudson on absence: Family is top priority

ST. LOUIS — Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez suggested a name for Daniel Hudson’s new daughter — “Anibala Sean Hudson,” a nod to how Anibal Sanchez and Sean Doolittle combined to shut out the St. Louis Cardinals while Hudson was away for Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.

Hudson and his wife, Sara, ultimately went with Millie.

Sara gave birth to the couple’s third daughter in Scottsdale, Arizona, early Friday morning. Later that night, Hudson watched his Nationals beat the Cardinals, 2-0, from a hospital room. Hudson, who emerged as the team’s closer late in the season, tuned in late and didn’t immediately realize Sanchez was carrying a no-hitter that ultimately lasted into the eighth inning.

Hudson deleted social media a couple of years ago with hopes that it would help foster a positive mindset. But he was made aware of some of the backlash on Twitter, with several people criticizing Hudson for missing an important game to witness the birth of a child.

“I went from not having a job on March 21 to this huge national conversation on family values going into the playoffs,” Hudson said. “Life comes at you fast, man. 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.”

Sara’s original due date was Oct. 14. Their other two children — a 5-year-old named Baylor and a 2-year-old named Parker — arrived later than expected, and Hudson was worried that if the same took place again, Millie wouldn’t arrive until late in the NLCS. They scheduled an induction for Oct. 10, this past Thursday, because doing so between the NLDS and NLCS made the most sense. But Sara’s induction took place later than expected, Hudson said, because priority was given to women having natural births. Sara had to wait until the following day to deliver.

“You try to plan something,” Hudson said, “and everything goes crazy.”

Hudson said he received full support from the Nationals throughout the process. The 32-year-old right-hander was activated off the paternity list prior to Saturday’s Game 2 and was available out of the bullpen. Hudson hasn’t pitched in three days, but he won’t necessarily be fresh. He had a 7:10 a.m. PT flight from Los Angeles to Phoenix on Thursday, then a 6:05 a.m. flight to St. Louis on Saturday, which got Hudson in at 11 a.m., less than two hours before he talked about all of it in Busch Stadium’s interview room.

“Mentally, I’m there,” Hudson said of contributing in a postseason game. “Physically, I’m a little tired.”

Hudson reported that the family and the baby are doing well and added that he would try to treat Saturday as routinely as possible, while acknowledging that it might be difficult.

Not going through this process was never an option.

“I knew I was going to go no matter what,” Hudson said. “I didn’t know that this was a new thing, to have a playoff paternity leave list. I had no idea. I was like, ‘I can’t be the only person to have a baby in the middle of the postseason.’ And for it to blow up like it did, man, it’s kind of crazy. But I didn’t really give much thought about not going. My family is top priority for me.”

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