Hoffman came on in relief of Reiver Sanmartin during Friday's loss to Atlanta and gave up two runs over 2.2 innings, allowing two hits and a walk without striking out a batter. Those two runs ultimately mattered, as a Reds rally in the ninth inning ended up one run short. At least Hoffman got some length in the game to save the back end of the bullpen, but he's in a role that provides little fantasy viability.
Hoffman agreed to a one-year, $925,000 contract with the Reds on Tuesday to avoid arbitration, Kiley McDaniel of ESPN.com reports. Hoffman posted a 4.56 ERA, 1.58 WHIP and 79:45 K:BB over 73 innings for Cincinnati last season, and he's now officially under contract for 2022. The 29-year-old struggled as a starter but pitched better out of the bullpen, and he figures to remain as a reliever this season.
Hoffman hasn't pitched in the last two weeks since getting shelled against the Tigers on September 3, when he gave up four runs and served up two homers over 1.2 innings. The Reds have been carrying an eight-man bullpen and yet Hoffman hasn't been used at all. What's strange is that was basically Hoffman's only bad outing as a reliever -- in 18.0 previous innings of relief, he had a 1.00 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with a 24:7 K:BB. Nonetheless, manager David Bell hasn't had the confidence to use him during a tough stretch for the Reds.
Hoffman will shift to a bullpen role going forward, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. Hoffman returned from a shoulder injury to start Wednesday's game against the Mets, but he gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks in four innings. The right-hander struggled with command during his start and only threw 44 of his 82 pitches for strikes. Vladimir Gutierrez will take his place in the rotation starting Tuesday against the Cubs.
Hoffman (3-5) took the loss Wednesday as the Reds were routed 7-0 by the Mets, giving up five runs on seven hits and three walks over four innings. He failed to strike out a batter. The right-hander wasn't really fooling anyone in his first appearance since May 26, as he tossed only 44 of 82 pitches for strikes and served up two homers. Hoffman hadn't allowed multiple homers in any of his 10 starts prior to landing on the IL with a shoulder impingement, but his control and command were both shaky prior to the injury. On the season, he sports a 5.20 ERA and 39:30 K:BB through 45 innings.
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