Hoffman dealing with tender shoulder
Padres closer says blown save Monday was unrelated
LOS ANGELES -- As if the Padres aren't under enough pressure in the National League West and Wild Card races at the moment, manager Bruce Bochy revealed on Monday night that Trevor Hoffman, his star reliever, is dealing with some tenderness in his right (throwing) shoulder.The soreness was a key reason why Bochy didn't go back to Hoffman in the 10th inning of Monday's 11-10 loss to the Dodgers, and instead went with veteran right-hander Rudy Seanez, who blew the save and the game by allowing a walk to Kenny Lofton and Nomar Garciaparra's two-run walk-off homer. "I asked, but Trevor's been dealing with some tenderness in his shoulder, and we decided it wouldn't be wise to push it," Bochy said. "He only has a certain amount of bullets to use, and we decided not to use them." Hoffman blew his shot at career save No. 476 and his 40th of the season, when he came on in the ninth inning to replace Jon Adkins and allowed homers to Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson on consecutive pitches. This came after Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew homered to open the inning off Adkins, who was brought in to protect a 9-5 lead. It was the fourth time in Major League history a team had hit that many consecutive homers in a single inning, and the first time since 1964. Hoffman threw only 11 pitches, finally getting all three outs, two of them booming outfield flies, including Rafael Furcal's inning-ender that was snagged at the right-center field fence. He threw 21 pitches on Sunday, going to a full count on three of the four batters he faced, walking one. "I'd like to have limited those pitches, but it just didn't happen," Hoffman said. Hoffman downplayed the apparent minor injury, saying that it wasn't any different than the aches and pains suffered by most players as the regular season reaches its zenith with two weeks to go. He's sitting on 475 saves, three short of Lee Smith's all-time record of 478, with 13 games remaining in the regular season. Hoffman's in his 14th season, but feels he isn't in the same precarious position as the Yankees' Mariano Rivera, who at 36, has missed the last three weeks with tenderness around his right elbow. "I definitely don't think it's a health issue," Hoffman said. "It's a situation where I'll be ready to go tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll go out and do a better job than I did tonight. Tenderness, soreness, whatever has been put out there shouldn't even be discussed in light of how things went tonight. And I don't want it to be broached in regards to that." Hoffman had surgery on that shoulder to clean up his labrum and correct an impingement during the 2003 season. The arthroscopic surgery was performed during that Spring Training and limited Hoffman to only nine appearances that season, all in September. He has been healthy since then, making 173 appearances and saving 123 games in the past three seasons. He's blown 14 saves during that period, five now this season. Going into the game, he'd only allowed two homers in 55 innings and he said he could never recall allowing homers on consecutive pitches. Hoffman, who will be 39 years old on Oct. 13, said he hoped that his condition hadn't affected Bochy's strategy. "That's just Boch being the type of manager he's been for a long period of time," Hoffman said. "I hope I didn't put him in a situation where he felt shorted with me not going back out there. That's just cooler heads prevailing on both ends."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.