Scuffling as starter, Hoffman to finish '16 in 'pen

Rockies righty prospect confident plan will work for him

Scuffling as starter, Hoffman to finish '16 in 'pen

DENVER -- Rockies right-handed prospect Jeff Hoffman, who has struggled with his execution through his first five Major League starts, will finish the season in the bullpen.

The move gives another righty prospect, German Marquez, a chance to make his first start Wednesday and most likely another. It also gives Hoffman (0-4, 6.04 ERA) relief opportunities to regain the pitch execution he showed while earning his big league chance.

It's a different strategy for Hoffman, 23, the Rockies' No. 2 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, from what the Rockies used last year with righty Jon Gray, who made nine starts before being shut down at roughly this time of year. It has worked for Gray, but Hoffman believes this plan will work for him.

"I and everybody else who is in the decision-making process are on the same page," said Hoffman, the ninth overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft and key prospect the Rockies received in the July 2015 trade that sent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays. "I want to compete. I want to earn my stripes. I'm glad they're giving me that opportunity.

"My stuff makes me effective. The only thing I'm focused on is executing pitches, because that's what's gotten me into trouble through my first few outings. Regardless whether it's in the bullpen or a starting role, you've got to execute pitches to get outs."

Hoffman fans Norris

At Triple-A Albuquerque, Hoffman, who missed 2014 because of Tommy John surgery and arrived in the Majors after 42 Minor League starts, made progress this year in pitch strategy and in the development of his changeup. He added a slider this year and said it's a work in progress. Hoffman admitted trying to be too fine with his pitches.

"I've tried to be too hard to nibble at the corners and to be a perfect pitcher, when in reality my command is not going to be perfect," Hoffman said. "I win with velocity. I win with big breaking stuff. I win with punching guys out. I got away from that.

"You want to come up here and show that your command is big league ready and you understand the guy in the box isn't the average Joe anymore. No matter what lineup you're facing, you're facing the best in the world. A little bit of it is giving guys too much credit, and the other part is trying to do too much on your end."

Manager Walt Weiss said Hoffman's innings figured in the decision. After recovering from the surgery last season, he threw 104 combined innings with the Blue Jays' and Rockies' organizations at Class A and Double-A. Hoffman entered Monday at 141.

"We're trying to protect some innings in his first full season pitching after Tommy John, and we're aware of that," Weiss said. "He's going to work on some things in the bullpen."

No surgery for Reynolds: An examination Monday confirmed that Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds (.282, 15 HRs, 53 RBIs) will not require surgery to mend his fractured left hand. Nonetheless, he will miss the rest of the season.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.