8/6/2014 8:42 P.M. ET
Hudson takes big first step in road back to Majors
By Adam Lichtenstein / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- For the first time in a year, Daniel Hudson threw a pitch in a professional baseball game.
Hudson, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, pitched an inning with the Rookie League AZL D-backs to begin his rehab assignment on Tuesday.
"Felt really good," Hudson said. "Just to get back out there in a competitive game was a lot of fun, and I definitely missed it a lot."
Hudson allowed a run on two hits and struck out two batters in a league where he's more than six years older than the average player. But Hudson said his performance isn't what matters right now -- he's focused on his command and confidence.
Manager Kirk Gibson said he hadn't seen video of Hudson pitch, but he did read the Minor League report for the day, which had Hudson's fastball velocity pegged around 93 mph.
"I don't really care as far as that goes," Hudson said. "Like I said, I want to get my command back and hopefully help this team in September."
Hudson said he would pitch a few more weeks with the AZL team, with his next appearance being Saturday, before getting a chance to pitch for Triple-A Reno.
Hudson said his outings would be limited so he could ease back into pitching. He doesn't expect to pitch more than one inning at a time or pitch on back-to-back days.
But although he isn't completely back to the level he was at when he won 16 games in 2011, Monday's start was the first step to returning to the Major Leagues.
"Once I got there on the mound and started warming up a little bit, I just told myself, 'You know, you're fine. Whatever happens, happens. Just go out there and do what you know how to do,'" Hudson said.
D-backs activate Pennington, send down Schultz
PHOENIX -- The D-backs activated infielder Cliff Pennington from the 15-day disabled list and optioned pitcher Bo Schultz to Triple-A Reno on Wednesday.
Pennington had been on the disabled list with a torn UCL in his left thumb since June 3.
The infielder played nine rehab games between the Rookie League AZL D-backs and Reno, hitting .406 (13-for-32) with a .950 OPS.
"Obviously, you want to be swinging the bat well," Pennington said. "Felt good the 10, 12 days I was playing with those guys."
Pennington was in the starting lineup for his first day back, playing third base -- a position he has played only 11 games at in the Major Leagues.
"I just want to play," he said. "If Miggy goes down, I'll put the catcher's gear on.
"It's definitely a new position. There's no denying that. … But at the same time, it's still a ground ball."
Schultz, meanwhile, is making the trip back to Reno for the second time this year. Schultz has pitched four games in two different stints with the D-backs.
After pitching one game with the team in Australia, he made three appearances from July 29-Aug. 5. In that stretch, he was 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA.
"I was … trying to overpower people," Schultz said. "It may be a power fastball, power slider, whatever. But if it's not commanded the way you need it to be, it doesn't matter here.
"You throw 97 here, it's good, but it's not like it's completely unique. You do it in the Minor Leagues, you can get away with it a little bit more."
Manager Kirk Gibson said Schultz will go back to the starting rotation in Triple-A. In 21 starts with Reno this season, Schultz is 8-7 with a 5.75 ERA.
"I think they're going to work on changing his delivery a little bit, trying to keep him closed a little longer as well," Gibson said.
D-backs announce $150,000 School Challenge
PHOENIX -- The D-backs announced Wednesday that the application process for the $150,000 School Challenge, presented by the University of Phoenix, is open.
The competition is open to all Arizona K-12 public, private and charter schools.
The program, which began in 2012, has resulted in $5,000 grants being issued to 81 schools, combining for more than $400,000 in donations. The grants have helped provide schools with educational supplies, books, computer programs, computer labs and school improvements.
"In partnership with University of Phoenix, the D-backs are committed to helping launch new and innovative programs as well as assisting those that are in great need of funding across the state," D-backs President and CEO Derrick Hall said in a release. "We are dedicated to ensuring that the schools in Arizona receive the resources that will make the biggest impact on our students and the community at large."
Teachers and administrators can apply for the School Challenge at www.dbacks.com/schoolchallenge. The application process closes on Sept. 30.
Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.