Orioles find their pass-catching outfielder

Kyle Hudson was open at his locker, but the Orioles couldn’t get him the ball.

A few players were tossing around a football in the clubhouse this morning, which brought a smile to Hudson’s face. He spent three seasons as a receiver on the University of Illinois football team.

Jason Berken was a quarterback on his high school team, and a pretty good one, too. But Hudson insisted, in a voice loud enough for Berken to hear, that he was the better passer during his prep days before changing positions and leading Illinois in receptions twice in his three collegiate seasons. Berken wasn’t buying it.

“He tried to tell me how good he was,” Hudson said, grinning.

The Orioles have purchased Hudson’s contract, completing his rapid rise through the system this season. Hudson began the year at Single-A Frederick. Now he’s a major leaguer.

Hudson was told about his promotion after last night’s doubleheader at Triple-A Norfolk. Manager Gary Allenson notified him that the Orioles were adding him to their expanded roster.

“I was pretty excited, pretty shocked,” said Hudson, a fourth-round pick in 2008. “I felt like I’ve done a pretty good job this season, but I never really thought, starting the season at Frederick, that I’d be here. I’ve come a long way. I’m happy to be here. I’m here to work and help the team win some ballgames.”

Hudson, who was batting .297 with seven doubles, one triple, 11 RBIs, 26 steals and one error in 68 games with Norfolk, made a bunch of calls to family and friends after getting the news.

“It kept me up so late, trying to let everybody know and getting everything packed up, that I probably got about three minutes of sleep,” he said. “I’m running on fumes right now, but I’m ready.

“It’s very exciting. I’m just happy to get an opportunity to do it, and like I’m said, I’m here to work and get better and learn from all the guys here.”

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