Brewers Closer Hoffman May Start Year on DL
PHOENIX (AP) -- The Milwaukee Brewers expect to start the season without new closer Trevor Hoffman.
Hoffman strained his right oblique muscle while pitching against Kansas City on March 13 and hasn't thrown since. Manager Ken Macha said the team's training staff expects Hoffman will be out another week and he will need two bullpen session before facing hitters. That makes it unlikely Hoffman will be ready for the April 7 opener at San Francisco.
"It's kind of looking dim," Macha said Sunday.
Hoffman, the major league career saves leader with 554, signed a $6 million, one-year contract with the Brewers.
Right-handers Carlos Villanueva and Seth McClung are the candidates to close early in the season if Hoffman is unavailable
Villanueva was 4-7 with a 4.07 ERA in nine starts and 38 relief appearances last season. He had on save last year, half of the total for his three-year career.
McClung was 6-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 12 starts and 25 relief appearances. He has six saves, all with Tampa Bay in 2006.
Macha said right-hander David Riske is not an option to close.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)