Hoffmann to begin season with Triple-A Las Vegas 51s
NEW ULM – New Ulm native Jamie Hoffmann will begin his 2013 baseball season with the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League.
Hoffmann was sent down to Triple-A Sunday night by the New York Mets and arrived there early Monday afternoon.
“We had a rough travel day Sunday and got up and found an apartment today (Monday),” Hoffmann said. “So now I get to relax a little bit.”
Hoffmann, who hit .250 with two doubles, three home runs and eight RBI in spring training for the Mets, said that he was not surprised at being sent down to Triple-A.
“You never want to get sent down, but at the same time things went well, but they had to make their decisions,” he said. “They did not say anything, but they did say if their outfield situation does not go good there will be plenty of opportunities with the Mets. I am excited about the opportunity.
“There are going to be some chances to get back to the majors and that is one of the big reasons that I signed with the Mets. You can never predict how seasons go and what can happen to players. We’ll just have to see what happens.”
Hoffmann said that he felt “real good” in spring training after taking the winter off from baseball.
“I did start off a little slow, but I got hot at the right time,” he said. “I am going to try and continue that at Las Vegas.”
Contrary to reports, Hoffmann was not sent to New York for tests for a possible recurring virus that had affected him last year.
“I got sent to New York because my EKG came up different,” he said. “I have something called WPW Syndrome, which is basically an electrical heart beat – my heart beat is different than normal, so it shows up on the EKG. I usually just tell the doctors about it and I know what I have. I have had a catheter surgery on it. But when it shows up on a test with a new organization they always panic right away because they don’t know that I already know about it. I went up there for a day, did some stress tests, ran on a tread mill. I got to play the next day.”
In Las Vegas, Hoffmann will be playing against a familiar team in Albuquerque, the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate. Hoffmann played for them for three years.
“I don’t think that we go there, but I know that we play them,” he said. “That is kind of cool, actually, to get back in the Pacific Coast League. I spent parts of three seasons in the league, so I am pretty familiar with some of the clubs and the players. It is kind of fun to come back here.”
Hoffmann may well face a relative of a person that he knows very well during his time in the PCL.
Jeff Schugel – a native of New Ulm – was a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers when he signed Hoffmann. Schugel, who is now in that same capacity with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, has a son, A.J, a pitcher, who was signed by the Angels. A.J. Schugel is on the roster of the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City and Las Vegas meet May 24-27 in Las Vegas.
So now the possibility exists for A.J to pitch to the player his dad signed, Jamie, with Jeff possibly in the seats watching.
Hoffmann and Las Vegas begin their PCL season on Saturday at Sacramento.