No longer closing, Trevor Hoffman quietly turns things around

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Trevor Hoffman allowed three runs on May 18, blowing his fifth save in 10 chances as his ERA rose to 13.15. He was stripped of ninth-inning duties and given four days off, with 27-year-old rookie John Axford grabbing hold of the Brewers’ closer job.
Axford has converted 11-of-11 save chances with a 2.96 ERA in 27.1 innings, so Hoffman reclaiming the job hasn’t even been an issue, but the all-time saves leader has quietly gotten back on track in a low-leverage role.
Since that blown save on May 18 he’s appeared in 16 games (none of them save situations) and has allowed a run in just three of them. Hoffman has a 3.38 ERA in 16 innings, striking out 10 batters and allowing opponents to hit just .241 with one homer and a .345 slugging percentage.
None of which will get him back in the closer role, but at least the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer is pitching well enough to go out on his own terms now rather than the ugly end he was on a path for early this season.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.