HOFFMAN SHINES FOR HIS FAN CLUB
NEW YORK» Nearly 40 friends and family members came to Citi Field to watch the Rockies’ Jeff Hoffman start against the Mets on Sunday. The rookie righthander was very much aware of the fan club that traveled three hours from Latham, N.Y., to see him pitch.
“I actually had more jitters this time than I’ve ever had,” Hoffman said, adding that he could hear “familiar voices cheering for me.”
One voice, in particular, stood out. It belonged to Jeff Hoffman Sr.
“My dad’s voice carries,” Hoffman said with a laugh. “I’ve been hearing that voice for a long time, telling me how to play the game. When I’m on deck, I can hear that voice above everybody else’s. That guy’s voice carries forever.”
Hoffman did his father and fan club proud.
The Rockies were in dire need of a strong start and Hoffman delivered, pitching six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and walking only one in Colorado’s 13-4 victory. He improved to 6-1 overall, and is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA on the road.
“Overall, Jeff did just fine,” manager Bud Black said. “Every game is a learning experience. And now he’s come back and pitched in front of family and friends. So he can check that box. He’s done that.”
Hoffman blanked the Mets for three innings before Lucas Duda ripped a solo home run to right with two outs in the fourth. Asdrubal Cabrera added a two-run homer in the fifth. But thanks to a big lead provided by the Rockies, Hoffman was never in any real trouble.
“He pitched a lot with his fastball,” Black said. “They connected with a couple of mislocated fastballs, but overall he did a good job.”
Before the game, right-handed starter Tyler Chatwood was placed on the 10day disabled list (strained calf ) and Ian Desmond was activated off the DL.
Desmond, returning from a strained calf that landed him on the DL on July 3, made a start in left field and went 2-for-3, driving in two runs with a first-inning single to jump-start Colorado’s offense.
“It felt good to contribute,” Desmond said. “I felt good, but I was fighting my brain a little bit because you just don’t know how it’s going to go. I was 100 percent when (the injury) happened, so coming off it, you never know what might happen.”
Desmond was replaced by pinch-runner Raimel Tapia in the sixth after drawing a walk, but that was just for precautionary reasons.
“He’s fine,” Black said of Desmond. “He’d been out there for a couple of hours and I felt fine with where we were with the game. So we took him out. But he’s fine. He’ll continue to get more confidence in the calf, as will we.”
Rotation in motion.
Chatwood said his right calf muscle isn’t as sore as he expected it to be and hopes he can play catch Monday. Still, he will miss at least two starts while on the DL.
He injured the calf during warm-ups Saturday night and tried to pitch through it. He lasted only 19 pitches before he left the game with the Rockies trailing 3-0.
“After the fact, it would have been nice to know that he felt something (during warm-ups),” Black said. “At that point we could have made a decision, one way or another, to pull him back right then. … But what makes professional athletes at this level is their extreme competitiveness and desire to play.”
Chatwood’s injury puts rookie left-hander Kyle Freeland back in the rotation.
“Calf strains are tricky,” Black said. “This doesn’t look like a couple days’ strain. It’s a legitimate strain, and we felt he wasn’t going to be able to pitch for the next 10 days.”
The Rockies aren’t saying when Freeland will make his next start. He pitched three innings of relief Saturday after Chatwood’s injury. The Rockies were hoping to give Freeland a midseason breather while controlling his innings.
The Rockies will start German Marquez against San Diego on Monday, the opener of a sixgame homestand.
Antonio Senzatela is scheduled to pitch Tuesday, followed by Jon Gray on Wednesday.
Thursday is a day off, so the Rockies could skip Chatwood’s usual spot in the rotation and pitch Freeland at a later date.