Trevor Hoffman has decided to retire after 18 seasons and an MLB record 601 saves, the future Hall of Famer told Barry Bloom of MLB.com today.
As recently as last month Hoffman was looking for work as a free agent, but with no teams willing to guarantee him a shot at closing in 2011 the 43-year-old right-hander called it quits and will instead take a front office job with the Padres.
It’s time to retire. It’s time to move on. This is more of a self-evaluation. I expect to pitch at a certain level and I had to be honest with myself that I wasn’t certain I could maintain that anymore.
Bloom notes that Hoffman and the Padres had a difficult parting of ways in 2008, but after spending two seasons with the Brewers he’s ready to put that behind him and return to organization he called home for 16 years. Hopefully they’ll begin the press conference by playing his entrance music: “Hells Bells” by AC/DC.
Hoffman was a seven-time All-Star who twice finished runner-up in the NL Cy Young voting and racked up 40-plus saves in nine different seasons, which is an MLB record. He’s the all-time leader with 601 saves, putting him 42 ahead of Mariano Rivera and more than 300 ahead of any other active pitcher. In other words Hoffman will be first or second all time in saves when he goes into Cooperstown, presumably five years from now.
Not bad for a guy who was drafted as a shortstop and didn’t become a full-time closer until age 26.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.