Hoffman's Opening Day hopes 'looking dim'

The Brewers’ hopes that closer Trevor Hoffman will recover from a ribcage injury in time for Opening Day are fading quickly.

“It’s looking dim,” manager Ken Macha said.

Macha made that pronouncement after head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger told him that Hoffman won’t be back on a mound for another week or so. Because he would probably need to work a few side sessions before getting into a game, it’s increasingly likely that Hoffman will not be ready to pitch when the Brewers play their regular season opener on April 7 in San Francisco.

Hoffman has not pitched in a Spring Training game since March 13. In the days thereafter he developed a strain to the oblique muscle along his right ribcage, an new ailment for Major League Baseball’s all-time leader with 554 saves.

He played catch on Thursday and Friday but his improvement has since “plateaued,” to borrow assistant general manager Gord Ash’s description.  He was shut down from throwing for a second straight day Sunday and received extensive treatment in the training room.

“I’ve never had one of these, but I’ve been around enough guys over the years who have to know they can be temperamental and take a lot longer than anyone wants,” Hoffman said. “There’s nothing you can do. You just have to wait it out.”

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