His checkup went so well Tuesday, Tim Hudson joked that his doctor told him he kicked back surgery's butt.

The veteran Braves pitcher was in good spirits Wednesday before heading to the field for his first full bullpen session since having lumbar spine-fusion surgery 3-1/2 months ago.

"It was a very, very good report — t he geriatric program is working around here," cracked Hudson, 36. "I've increased my workload pretty substantially over the last couple of weeks and it has responded well. It's responded as if I was doing light stuff. The X-ray looked good and my range of motion was good.

"Two thumbs up, man."