Tigers option Hoffman, Ortega
Back on the beat after a long weekend off, and the Tigers are back to trimming their roster, a couple players at a time. Today’s moves trimmed the bullpen competition by two, with left-hander Matt Hoffman and right-hander Jose Ortega optioned to Triple-A Toledo.
Hoffman had an impressive camp despite giving up some damage in his last couple outings. Yet as a lefty middle reliever fighting for what will probably be a long relief role for that last spot in Detroit’s bullpen, he had a difficult case to make. He gave up two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings, with two walks and six strikeouts.
The 23-year-old Hoffman will be a Mud Hen for a second season. So, too, will Ortega, who struggled at Triple-A last year but opened some eyes in camp this spring, giving up a run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings with four walks and four strikeouts.
The moves leave the Tigers with 17 pitchers in camp, not counting Al Alburquerque, who will open the season on the disabled list. It has a bigger impact on the bullpen competition, which is reduced on the right-handed side to Brayan Villarreal, Luis Marte and Chris Bootcheck, who has quietly survived all the cuts so far. The left-handed side of the bullpen competition now slants mainly towards longer relievers.