Reds: Jeff Hoffman’s rehab suggests he’s ready for some relief work

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - APRIL 10: Jeff Hoffman #23 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a first inning pitch. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - APRIL 10: Jeff Hoffman #23 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a first inning pitch. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

It looks like Jeff Hoffman is all-systems-go after another solid outing for Triple-A Louisville last night. The right-hander went four innings, struck out four, and walked two while keeping the scoreboard clean during his time on the bump. Hoffman looks like he’s ready to help the Cincinnati Reds bullpen.

Hoffman isn’t the only pitcher who’s eyeing a spot in the Reds’ pen. News broke this week that Tony Santillan rejoined Triple-A Louisville, and Cincinnati plans to recall him later this month. However, Santillan will no longer be a starter, but will work out of the bullpen. Michael Lorenzen is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment as well.

Jeff Hoffman appears ready to return to the Reds.

Jeff Hoffman has been on the injured list since the end of May, and has now started three games for Triple-A Louisville. Over those three games, Hoffman has a 0.00 ERA in 10 innings of work with 13 punch outs and only three free passes.

The Cincinnati Reds bullpen is in desperate need of some reliable arms, though several of the relievers have pitched well of late. That said, the relief corps is without stalwart right-hander Tejay Antone and the team’s leader in saves, Lucas Sims.

Veterans Brad Brach and Heath Hembree have been a breath of fresh air for David Bell’s bullpen. The right-handed duo was key to keeping the Reds ahead last night against the Chicago Cubs, and Hembree recorded his second save of the season by striking out the final batter of the game.

Adding Hoffman to the group of veterans in the Cincinnati bullpen would give Bell another solid arm he could turn to. The question then becomes who would the team option to Triple-A in order to recall Hoffman to the big leagues?

There is of course Cionel Perez, however, the left-hander hasn’t allowed a run in his last two appearances and has three punch outs and (checks notes) zero walks. Josh Osich is another, more likely option. The 32-year-old is one of four left-hander’s currently in Cincinnati’s bullpen.

If I had a vote, I’d bid farewell to another veteran, left-hander Sean Doolittle. Doolittle was signed to a one-year deal this offseason, but hasn’t lived up to the billing. The southpaw owns a 4.55 ERA  and hasn’t had a clean inning since May12th. Wow!

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Regardless of who’s sent down nor let go, the Cincinnati Reds need to recall Jeff Hoffman. He’s done about everything the team could have asked from him at this point and it’s time to add the right-hander back to the active roster.