The Rockies designated Hoffmann for assignment this spring. He became a free agent and signed with the Orioles yesterday.
“I was looking for teams for about a week and then decided to sign here,” he said. “It’s a great spot and a good opportunity and I’m excited to be in camp.
“I’ve been working out every day. I just haven’t seen any live pitching for a week, a week and a half now. But I’m feeling pretty good. Well-rested. Let’s just put it that way. Usually, you’re not well-rested in spring training, but that’s where I am right now.
“This is a whirlwind for me. I just signed yesterday and I’ve been moving around, but I think I’m going to be over here. Minor league camp ends tomorrow, so I’ll come over here and back up and see if I can get some at-bats.”
Hoffmann, 27, was an eighth-round pick of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes in 2003, but he signed with the Dodgers and began his professional career in 2005. Last summer, he batted .297/.356/.497 with 23 doubles, three triples, 22 homers and 84 RBIs in 133 games at Triple-A Albuquerque.
Hoffmann is 4-for-26 with two doubles in 16 major league games with the Dodgers.
Hoffmann played winter ball in Venezuela this winter, but was bed-ridden for three weeks with a stomach virus.
“It caused a lot of stuff in my body, like some arthritis,” he said. “I went to camp a couple weeks early and rehabbed and (the Rockies) got it to where I could run and do things. I got healthy and got a couple at-bats and they optioned me down.”
Hoffmann and Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman have a history together. Their respective California League teams were involved in a brawl back in 2007. Tillman remembered the incident as soon as he introduced himself to Hoffmann and couldn’t wait to remind him of it.
“We had a little scuffle on the field but nothing really came out of it except good stories to tell in the clubhouse, tell your buddies, give them a hard time,” Hoffmann said.
Tillman recalls that the brawl lasted so long, fans stole the players’ gloves and the game was halted. Hoffmann already had been ejected.
“It was at our place,” said Hoffmann, who played for San Bernardino. “The brawl literally lasted ... it felt like 20 minutes, 30 minutes. It just kept going and going. It’s scrappy down there. I got thrown out, a few guys got thrown out on both sides. I was in the showers after that, so I don’t know how the game ended.”
Note:Jason Hammel is starting Tuesday’s game against the State College of Florida. Tsuyoshi Wada also is pitching in that game.
For the Pirates: