Results tagged ‘ Trevor Hoffman ’

Hoffman humbled by well-wishes

Trevor Hoffman’s voicemail filled up fast after he logged career save No. 600 on Tuesday night. But one call Wednesday got through. 
“Being able to speak to the Commissioner was big,” Hoffman said, referring to his morning chat with Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig. “We talked about similar feelings and emotions that he had gone through the other day with his statue.”
The Brewers dedicated a statue of Selig outside Miller Park on Aug. 24. Hoffman attended along with a who’s who of Hall of Famers, baseball executives and former Brewers. 
“[We talked about] the people that rallied, and how you handle it and how you feel,” Hoffman said. “It was a neat moment to share with him. He understood that I was bombarded with a lot of texts, a lot of voicemails. It’s kind of daunting to think about the time it’s going to take to get back to people, but we’ll accomplish that.”
Hoffman also heard from two former managers, Bud Black of the Padres and Bruce Bochy of the Giants. Padres president Tom Garfinkel left a message, as did Red Sox right-hander John Lackey and other players.  
And Hoffman was particularly touched by a message from Brewers legend Robin Yount. 
“He took time away from his ‘redneck tailgate’ as he called it, with him and his dogs in the back of his pickup, listening to the game,” Hoffman said. “To hear from guy of his stature in his organization and his community, that’s so humbling. I appreciated that one.”
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Brewers proud to be part of Hoffmans milestone

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Scott Paulus/Brewers
Usually, Trevor Hoffman leads the clubhouse ceremony when a player reaches a personal milestone. He did it for Mike Cameron last season when Cameron became the 20th Major Leaguer to reach 250 home runs and 250 stolen bases. He made a particularly touching tribute to Jason Kendall after the catcher’s 2,000th hit. 
On Tuesday, it was the Brewers’ turn to honor Hoffman. He finally notched save No. 600 in a 4-2 win over the Cardinals at Miller Park. 
“We made him get up there and say a few thoughts,”said shortstop Craig Counsell, who converted the final out. “He was great, as usual. And, as usual, he defers everything to the team. It was special because of the respect everybody has for how he does his job and who he is as a person.
“To be a part of it was great because of how much admiration we all have for Trevor,” Counsell said. “That’s what makes it special. Hopefully, that came out [in the celebration]. The way he does his job is the way we all try to do ours.”
The ballclub honored Hoffman on the field immediately after the game and presented him with an oil painting commissioned for the event. The team sold out of 1,000 “Hoffman 600 saves” t-shirts in about 20 minutes of the final out, but expect to have more in stock by Thursday or Friday. 
And that now-famous banner will remain at “600 SAVES” through the end of the season, a tribute to Hoffman’s career achievements. 
Here are more images from Hoffman’s big night, courtesy of Brewers photographer Scott Paulus. 
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Hoffman talks trade deadline

Trevor Hoffman insists he’s not sweating Saturday’s non-waiver trade deadline. But if the Brewers do get an offer for the all-time saves leader, it’s very possible that Hoffman would have the final say.
Hoffman has a limited no-trade clause in his contract that blocks the Brewers from trading him to 25 of the 30 Major League teams without his consent. Hoffman talked about the existence of that clause on Wednesday morning, but said he didn’t know any of the details. 
He could be attractive to a team seeking relief. Hoffman has posted a 1.69 ERA over his last 15 appearances, including six consecutive scoreless outings. He’s signed through the end of his season, with a club option for 2011 that can be bought out for $500,000.  
“I haven’t even really thought about it,” Hoffman said. “I’m comfortable here. I think we’re a good enough ballclub to scratch back in this thing. If your mind starts to drift any other way, then I don’t think you’re ‘all-in’ with what we’re doing here. 
“I understand the adage from the time you’re coming up, that as you’re trying to make it with your particular club, there are 29 other teams scouting you. But if you have that kind of back-of-your-mind mentality, you’re going to sabotage yourself.” 
The Brewers plan to wait until Saturday to activate right-hander LaTroy Hawkins from the 60-day disabled list, just in case they trade one of their other relievers before that day’s 3 p.m. CT deadline.
“We think it’s close enough to that point so we’ll just wait and see,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “We don’t have anything currently on the table, but you never know what might come up.” 
Melvin said things were “all quiet” on the trade front Wednesday, making it even more likely that the two Brewers mentioned most often in rumors — first baseman Prince Fielder and right fielder Corey Hart — will stay put after Saturday’s deadline. 
But it’s possible that the Brewers will find a taker for one of their relievers. Hoffman would make sense, or perhaps Todd Coffey, since he has one more year of arbitration-eligibility after this one before he reaches free agency. 
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Hoffman could still close for Brewers

MILWAUKEE — With the way Trevor Hoffman has been pitching lately, the possibility of the all-time saves leader closing for the Brewers again is still there, manager Ken Macha said Tuesday.

 

Hoffman’s last outing, a scoreless eighth inning in a 1-1 ballgame Sunday in Colorado that earned him the win in the Brewers’ eventual 6-1 victory, was the fifth in a row for Hoffman in which he has not allowed a run.

Since giving up three runs and taking the loss on June 1 in Florida, Hoffman has tossed five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits.

“After that outing, I’d feel pretty good about him coming in now,” Macha said. “I thought the other day was his best outing. … He certainly threw the ball well enough to close the game.”

Macha was quick to point out the decision was not an easy one to make, especially considering the criticism that would come along with replacing current closer John Axford, who has not yet blown a save.

“It puts you out on the plank,” Macha said. “But I think he’s done real well, so let’s just see. I’ve got that amongst the other pressures that are placed on me when I come to the ballpark every day.”

As for if or when he would remove Axford from the role, Macha said it would “work itself out.”

At the same time, however, Macha recognizes what it would mean for Hoffman to get the four saves he needs to reach the 600-save mark.

“I certainly would like Trevor to reach his goal,” Macha said. “If that’s getting 600, I’d like to get that done for him. Or 610 or whatever he wants.

“He hasn’t given up an earned run since June 1. The game was on the line the other day, we had a tie game with the heart of their order coming up. It’s a good inning for him.”

– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Turning point for the pitching?

The Brewers won Sunday with a five-run outburst in the ninth inning, but manager Ken Macha was even more pleased with what he saw over the first eight. 
Randy Wolf pitched through the seventh inning in his second consecutive quality start, and deposed closer Trevor Hoffman delivered a 1-2-3 eighth inning in what Macha called one of the all-time saves king’s best outings of his down season. Hoffman’s replacement, John Axford, stayed sharp with a perfect ninth inning as the Brewers — with the final two innings of Saturday’s loss notwithstanding — continued a promising pitching trend that has some still holding out hope of a mid-season revival.
With Wolf’s outing, the Brewers have seven quality starts in their last nine games. The starters own a 3.34 ERA in that span.
“You can see the difference. They’re keeping us in games and we’re winning more games,” left fielder Ryan Braun said. “Everybody is throwing the ball great. The pitching has really come together, which is exciting to see because there’s a lot of season left.” 
The hitters pushed the Brewers over the top on Sunday, of course. Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart delivered two-run doubles and Prince Fielder added an RBI double of his own to finish a 3-3 road trip on a high note. 
“It was a pretty good road trip, 3-3,” Macha said. “You always have those would-have, could-haves, but I think the starting pitching on this trip was pretty good. That’s something we need to build on as we go home for a pretty long homestand.”
Jordan Schelling will have it covered for MLB.com while I step away for a couple of weeks. I’ll be back in time for July 4, when we’ll find out who will represent the Brewers in Anaheim at the All-Star Game. 
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Macha not naming Axford as closer, yet

MILWAUKEE — With John Axford getting the call in the ninth inning of the Brewers’ 8-6 victory on Saturday, many began to assume it meant he was the team’s closer.

 

Not so fast, manager Ken Macha said in his postgame press conference.

“I’m not eliminating Trevor,” said Macha, referring to all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman. “I want to give [Hoffman] a few more innings. But it’s going to be nice if we have coverage like that.”

Axford, a flame-throwing 27-year-old right-hander, is 2-for-2 in save opportunities on the season. Along with his save at the end of the 2009 season, Axford is a perfect 3-for-3 in his short big league career as a closer.

Though his career total is still 593 less than that of Hoffman, Axford doesn’t let the pressure of the situation get to him.

“It’s a tough situation to be in, I guess,” Axford said. “I don’t hold a flame to Trevor Hoffman. So I’m not thinking about that really. I’m just trying to get my job done.”

While Macha has been impressed by Axford’s recent performance out of the bullpen, he sees greater value in having several pitchers comfortable with pressure situations in the late innings.

“There’s no problem having a couple,” Macha said. “My last year in Oakland, we had six guys with saves. I’d like to get Trevor back. … The more guys you’re can bring in pressure situations and they’re able to get outs, that makes your bullpen that much stronger.

“I’d like to get [LaTroy] Hawkins back too. When all those pieces get back together, it starts to give you a lot of options. … I’m not selling any of those guys short.”

When asked about his bullpen in his morning session with the media, Macha said he hoped to get Hoffman in the game on Sunday. He did not, however, specify an inning in which that might happen.

But with the way Axford has pitched lately, Macha admitted after Saturday’s game that “it’s hard not to bring him in.”

“He has the stuff,” Macha said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Hoffman could resume closer duties

Brewers manager Ken Macha stopped short of making a formal declaration, but it appears he is ready to restore all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman to the closer’s role. 

Hoffman allowed a hit and a walk in a scoreless seventh inning of Wednesday’s 5-0 loss to the Astros, his second appearance in three games in a non-save situation. According to baseball-reference.com, it was Hoffman’s first appearance earlier than the eighth inning since a seventh-inning stint on Sept. 2, 2003, Hoffman’s first game back from shoulder surgery. 
He also worked a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 inning in Sunday’s win at Minneapolis, and Macha was asked whether Hoffman, who has 596 career saves, was ready to resume his drive to 600.
“We kind of talked about that several times today,” Macha said. “We’ll see how some things go. That is two good outings in a row, so I’ll talk to him [Thursday] and see how he’s feeling about himself.”
Hoffman has not pitched in a save situation since May 18 in Cincinnati, where he surrendered three runs on four hits in his fifth blown save this season without recording an out. He spent the rest of last week working on mechanics with Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson. 
Carlos Villanueva went 1-for-2 in save chances and John Axford converted his only opportunity in Hoffman’s absence. 
“We’ve been having an open conversation. I can’t say, ‘OK, Trevor is going to be the closer [on Thursday],’” Macha said. “We’ll have to work that out with him.”
In those conversations, Hoffman has indicated that he is much more comfortable with the routine associated with save situations, Macha said.
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Hoffman 'frustrated' but still wants to close

Trevor Hoffman has asked himself the same questions that filled Internet message boards and talk radio airwaves since he suffered his fifth blown save on Tuesday. 
Have his 42 years finally caught up to him? Is the all-time saves leader at the end of the line? 
“I always said the hitters would let me know, and they’re talking awfully loud,” Hoffman said. “It’s not like I’m putting together a lot of 1-2-3 innings. Balls have been up, and I’ve been getting hurt by it.” 
But when faced head-on with a question like, “Is this the end?” Hoffman’s answer is a resounding no. He said Wednesday afternoon that he still wants the ball in the ninth inning. 
“If it was something other than the fact I was getting my head beat in, I would worry,” Hoffman said. “But there isn’t a whole lot that has changed. My mechanics are the same. Stuff-wise, it’s been a little inconsistent as far as pitches are concerned. But it’s not as if I was throwing 90 [mph] last year and I’m throwing 80 this year. I’m a mid-80s guy. The change-up has been mid- to low-70s. Not much is off in those numbers. 
“I’m worried, don’t get me wrong. Or, frustrated, that’s the better word. ‘Worried’ makes it sound like you’re just hoping to get people out. No, you have to prepare, and I’m doing that. There’s frustration because something is not going right. 
“Am I tipping my pitches? Has it finally caught up that I’m 42? I don’t know. It’s something that’s out of my control.” 
Hoffman inherited a 4-2 lead in Cincinnati on Tuesday and retired none of the five batters he faced. Scott Rolen hit a tying-two-run home run, and three batters later Joey Votto lined a game-winning hit off the wall that went in the books as a long single. 
It was Hoffman’s fifth blown save in 10 chances this season, one more blown save than he had in 41 chances during his fabulous 2009 debut season in Milwaukee. Hoffman’s ERA entering Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh was 13.15 and opponents were hitting him at a .356 clip with seven home runs. In 2009, he only allowed two home runs all year. 
“I don’t have the answers to the questions being posed,” Hoffman said. “If it was as easy as, start throwing a two-seamer [fastball] and it’s the fix, we would do it. It’s not as easy as that. You almost have to forget about what’s gone on so far and focus on the only thing you can control. That’s the next outing.” 
Asked whether he felt physically well, Hoffman said, “I don’t feel any different than I have in the past. There’s nothing glaring, let’s put it that way.” 
Would he consider doing something he’s never done before in his career — stepping aside to let someone else close games for a bit? 
“I don’t have the answer to that,” Hoffman said. “We’ll see.” 
He understands that manager Ken Macha is in a difficult position. 
“He has to win ballgames, and I’m putting him in a tough spot,” Hoffman said. “It takes the wins out the club’s sail, and I’m sure there’s been a hangover effect after some of the [blown saves]. … Everybody has been grinding for the last week in a half. Hitters have been grinding at-bats. Pitchers have been working their tails off in the rotation and trying to pass that through the bullpen. You finally put it together as a game [on Tuesday] and to let it get away, that’s pretty frustrating.” 
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Macha: Hoffman will have Thursday off

After watching Trevor Hoffman throw 23 more pitches Wednesday and suffer his second blown save in as many days, manager Ken Macha suggested that his struggling closer was due at least a one-day break.
“That’s two days in a row for him,” Macha said. “[On Thursday], if we have a chance to win it, perhaps it will be somebody else at the end of the game.”
The leading candidate would be LaTroy Hawkins, who saved 11 games for the Astros last season as a fill-in for injured Jose Valverde. But Macha gave no indication that Hoffman would get anything other than a one-day break to re-charge his 42-year-old arm, even though Hoffman has blown as many saves — four — in seven opportunities as he had in all of 2009, when Hoffman converted 37-of-41 chances and made the All-Star team. 
“He’s aware of what he’s doing and we’ll try to get it ironed out,” Macha said following the Brewers’ 6-5 loss in 14 innings. 
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Macha compares '10 Hoffman to Big Hurt in '06

Brewers manager Ken Macha is in something of a tough spot with closer Trevor Hoffman, the all-time saves leader who has had particular trouble running up his total this season. But Macha pointed out Wednesday morning that he’s been here before. 
In 2006, Macha’s final season managing the A’s, veteran slugger Frank Thomas was batting in the .170s into the second week of May, and with a trip looming to Chicago, where Thomas had compiled most of his Hall of Fame-worthy credentials, Oakland officials were considering a change. 
“My boss said, ‘You’d better sit down and talk to this guy because it looks like we might have to start platooning him,” Macha said. “So we had an off-day and were going from west to east, so I had a couple of days to think about it. 
“I brought him in and asked him how he was feeling, [said] that I didn’t want him to put too much pressure on himself because we were going to Chicago and playing the White Sox. That [first night in Chicago], he hit two homers in that game.” 
That was May 22, 2006, and Thomas batted .302 the rest of the season to finish with 39 home runs and 114 RBIs, finishing fourth in American League MVP balloting. 
“He helped us win the division,” Macha said. “Then, his bat basically won out playoff series [against the Twins]. When you have a guy like that, when does the switch go back on and [they] perform at that level? I never had to tell Frank, ‘Hey we’re going to platoon you.’ I didn’t want to do that because of the respect I had for the player that he is and the accomplishments that he did have.” 
 The same goes for Hoffman, who suffered his third blown save in six tries Tuesday night and has surrendered five home runs in eight innings this season. Compare that to last year, when he allowed only two homers in 54 innings on the way to 37 saves. 
Macha has no plans to depose Hoffman as the closer, though the closer conundrum did occupy Macha on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. After Tuesday’s loss, Macha he had chats with pitching coach Rick Peterson and general manager Doug Melvin about the struggling closer. On Wednesday morning, Macha spoke with assistant GM Gord Ash, who thinks the problem is mostly location, and head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger, who assured that Hoffman is in top physical shape, as usual. 
Then Macha met with Hoffman himself, behind a closed door in the manager’s office about an hour before the Brewers-Pirates series finale. 
“Just like I said [Tuesday night], he’s done this a lot and he hasn’t survived this long without making the adjustments,” Macha said. “You have to, as a manager, respect the accomplishments that he’s had. Here again, it’s, how much rope does the guy get?” 
Does Macha have that answer? 
“I don’t know the answer to that,” Macha said.
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