HOFFMAN HAS WORK CUT OUT FOR ROTATION
scottsdale, ariz.» Jeff Hoffman wore the lilaccolored jersey of a Rockies big-leaguer Sunday, but his teammates wore black. The long righthander was trying to get right, pitching in a minorleague game on the chainfence back fields at the Salt River complex.
Two weeks from the start of the season, the 24-year-old Hoffman is one of four young arms competing for two spots in the Rockies’ rotation. Even relegated to facing the Cubs’ Triple-A hitters, a group of Colorado front-office executives and coaches, from general manager Jeff Bridich to pitching coach Steve Foster, watched Hoffman pitch.
Hoffman is the player Bridich received for Troy Tulowitzki in the summer trade with the Blue Jays two seasons ago, a coveted pitching prospect who debuted with the Rockies late last season. But this spring, Hoffman seems to be looking up at fellow prospects Kyle Freeland and Antonio Sentzatela.
“It’s good to have that feeling of your back against the wall and be able to work out of it,” Hoffman said after pitching out of a long second inning.
Hoffman pitched 4M innings to mixed results, giving up five hits and two runs, with four strikeouts and one walk. His second inning was stretched. He loaded the bases with the first three batters and allowed a sacrifice lineout to left field. But he struck out two with a crashing slider.
“I was making sure to bury breaking balls when I needed to. That was an issue for me the last two outings,” Hoffman said.