It has been more than a season and a half since right-hander Daniel Hudson last pitched in a major-league game but baseball’s salary structure isn’t entirely mindful of such things.

While on the disabled list recovering from his first and then second Tommy John elbow surgeries Hudson has been accumulating major-league service time and next season as a player with three-plus years experience he will be eligible for salary arbitration for the first time.

This creates a peculiar situation. What will Hudson be worth? Will he even pitch in 2014 or will his recovery take until 2015? Will he come back as a starter or a reliever?

No one seems to know how the situation will play out. And that includes Hudson himself.

“It’s going to be interesting to see what goes on” Hudson said over the phone Monday. “Obviously we love it here in Arizona and I’d like to be here for a long time an extended period of time but I’m in a pretty weird situation going into my first year of arbitration.

“I don’t really know what to expect and I don’t know if they know what to expect either.”

Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers said he wants to bring Hudson back but he wouldn’t go into specifics on what he has in mind for a contract though he intimated he did not plan on going through the arbitration process.

“We’ve got some time on that” Towers said referring to the Dec. 2 deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. “We’ve tried to come up with creative ways that we can do it. We’ve got some ideas some thoughts that we’ve kind of worked on but we haven’t approached him or his adviser yet. I’d certainly like to keep him here and work something out that works for both sides.”

Pitchers who require a second ligament-replacement surgery tend to take longer than the typical 12-month recovery for first-time procedures so it could be that Towers is referring to a multi-year deal when he said “creative ways.” He also might be considering a contract that includes incentives for games played.

After undergoing surgery in July 2012 Hudson had nearly worked his way back to the majors before re-tearing his elbow ligament in June requiring a second Tommy John surgery.

Hudson says everything has gone smoothly so far in his most recent rehab. For now he’s “trying to strengthen the heck out of” his elbow and expects to start playing catch sometime before Christmas.

“I’m pretty sure we will probably be even more careful in terms of handling different sorenesses a little more cautiously” he said.