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Wednesday, August 16
Athletics lock up RHP Hudson with four-year extension

OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Tim Hudson, one of the top young pitchers in the game, today signed a four-year contract extension that will keep him with Oakland Athletics through the 2004 season.

Financial terms of the deal, which includes a club option for 2005, were not disclosed, but Hudson was not eligible for arbitration for another two seasons. The 25-year-old righthander is being paid $250,000 this season.

"This early in my career, signing a four-year deal sets me up for life," Hudson said. "It's kind of overwhelming. I'll just go out there and try to keep everything in perspective."

"When you get someone as productive as Timmy has been in his career, it's a gamble we have to take," Oakland general manager Billy Beane said. "Anybody who knows Timmy knows that they don't come any better."

Hudson is 13-4 with a 4.79 ERA for the A's, who are four games behind first-place Seattle in the American League West but hold a two-game lead over Cleveland in the race for the wild card.

Named to his first All-Star team this season, Hudson is fourth in the AL in wins and has held opponents to a .238 batting average. His nine-game winning streak earlier this year was the longest in the majors.

Hudson is one of five pitchers to record wins in 21 of his first 25 decisions. With a career record of 24-6, he and teammate Gil Heredia are the first two A's to post consecutive 10-win seasons since Mike Moore, Bob Welch and Dave Stewart from 1991-92.

The signing of Hudson continues a trend for the small-market A's, who already have locked up youngsters Eric Chavez, Miguel Tejada, Ben Grieve and Jason Giambi with long-term deals.

"If we're going to keep these guys around as we've been saying all along (Grieve, Chavez, Tejada and Hudson) we're going to have to be aggressive and sign these guys to four-year contracts," Beane added.

"I'm excited," Hudson said. "We've all signed four-year deals and we all know we're going to be together for a while."

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