Hoffman’s Road to the Show Starts

By on May 21, 2015

 

Jeff Hoffman started in the hot Florida sun with a 1-2-3 first inning. (photo Rick Sassone / RSEN)

Jeff Hoffman started in the hot Florida sun with a 1-2-3 first inning. (photo Rick Sassone / RSEN)

Dunedin, Fla. — Last night  Toronto Blue Jays 2014 first round pick Jeff Hoffman took the hill for his professional debut against the Tampa Yankees.  Reaching 98 MPH on the gun Hoffman impressively pitched a 1-2-3 first inning.  The 22 year old right hander, just over a year removed from Tommy John surgery, had only been on the mound since February this year and facing game live hitters for the first time outside of extended spring games.

Inning two was different. “For the most part the 2nd inning happened because I left two pitches up.  The home run was a change up, up. The other hits were up in the zone,” said Hoffman after the game.   The Yankees jumped on the pitches, and Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka jacked that change up, up Hoffman mentioned, into the palm tree down the left field line about 365 feet.

I took note of the poise in Hoffman as he settled down and in spite of the 2nd inning he ended with a respectable first game pitching line.  67 pitches, 5 innings, 8 hits, 4 runs all earned, no walks and 3 K’s. He managed damage control, holding the Yankees scoreless over the third, fourth and fifth innings which had a big impact on setting up a 6-5 walk off win for Dunedin.

 

Hoffman said of his first professional start, “It felt great. Not quite the results I wanted.  It could have been a lot better but it could have been worse. I think I made pitches, but I also missed a lot of pitches too.  It’s just going to come with me getting back out there and getting kind of comfortable in that setting again and keeping the ball down more through out the game.”  After the second inning Hoffman said he was thinking, “Just that, settle down,  just focus on getting the ball down and trusting the guys behind me.”

Hoffman showed his move to first keeping runners close which lead to two runners caught stealing at 2nd. (photo Rick Sassone / RSEN)

Hoffman showed his move to first keeping runners close which lead to two runners caught stealing at 2nd. (photo Rick Sassone / RSEN)

The NCAA American Athletic Conference (AAC)  tournament is being played in Clearwater and earlier in the day the East Carolina Pirates enjoyed a walk off victory of their own over UCF 4-3.   The Pirates boarded the bus and made the appearance at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium to see their former Pirate teammate Hoffman make this pro debut.  “It was awesome,” said Hoffman.   “Obviously my season got cut short, my last season there.  It was tough, but I got the opportunity to catch  them  at USF earlier this year. I knew this would be about the time I would start playing again and they were going to be down here.  It meant a lot to see those guys out there to support me and see the coaches from the past. It was nice to see them out here and get that support, it was awesome.”

Jeff Hoffman – East Carolina Career

Some of the ECU contingency on hand (photo Rick Sassone / RSEN)

Some of the ECU contingency on hand (photo Rick Sassone / RSEN)

Jeff Hoffman (photo Rick Sassone / RSEN)

Jeff Hoffman (photo Rick Sassone / RSEN)

 

 

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