The Detroit Tigers are slowly whittling down their roster to the required twenty-five men. Yesterday, the Tigers optioned relievers Matt Hoffman and Jose Ortega to Triple-A Toledo.
This spring, Hoffman allowed two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings, with two walks and six strikeouts. Hoffman will return to Triple-A Toledo in a late inning relief role for the third straight season. Currently a member of the Tigers 40-man roster, this probably won’t be the last we hear from Hoffman this season. Expect to see the hard throwing left-handed reliever in Detroit at some point this upcoming season. Hoffman checked in as the 29th best prospect in our ’12 MCB Top 50.
The 23-year-old, Ortega gave up a run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings with four walks and four strikeouts this spring. His spring stats were a step in the right direction, after a horrific 2011 campaign. Ortega checked in as the Tigers 38th best prospect in our ’12 MCB Top 50.
With Ortega and Hoffman re-assigned, right-handed pitchers Brayan Villarreal and Luis Marte seem to be the favorites to claim the remaining spot in the Tigers ‘pen. Non-roster invitee Chris Bootcheck remains in camp and he has thrown six scoreless frames. Regardless, he appears to be a long shot to break camp with the big league club. It’s also a possibility that the Tigers could decide to select a hybrid pitcher like Adam Wilk or Duane Below for the final spot.
Nonetheless, two weeks remain, time will tell.