Hoffmann remains a free agent as Spring Training nears

NEW ULM – For the first time in his 11 years of playing professional baseball, Jamie Hoffmann is without a team as spring training for major league baseball approaches.

“Right now I am just working out,” he said. “I am doing what I can do. I have been talking to my agent (Matt Colleran). He has been calling teams. This is the worst part of free agency.”

Hoffmann has been in professional baseball since he signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers by another former New Ulmite, Jeff Schugel, who was a scout with the Dodgers at that time. Schugel is now the assistant to the General Manager with the Atlanta Braves.

With the Dodgers in 2009, Hoffmann hit his first major league home run and ended the year with seven RBI.

In his 11-year career, he has been with the Washington Nationals (for less than a day before being traded to the New York Yankees), back to the Dodgers, then with the Colorado Rockies, the Baltimore Orioles and last year with the New York Mets.

“It is tough not being on a team right now,” Hoffmann said. “It is getting late but it is out of my hands. I am just going to do what I can control, work out and stay in shape and hopefully get a call here soon. I may get a call but it might not happen. That is the tough part.”

If Hoffmann, 29, does not get signed as a free agent, he said that he would “start networking a little bit with most of the baseball guys I know like coaches I played for and farm directors I know. I will call around and see what I can do. I want to stay in the game. Meeting baseball people over the years will help and that would lead to opportunities for me.

He knows there’s a possibility of not signing somewhere too.

“It has been great fun and a great ride,” Hoffmann said. “I hope that it is not over. I have enjoyed every minute of it. I’ll take what I have learned from this and use it in my next venture in life.”

MUNSEN NEARING 1,000 CAREER POINTS: Minnesota Valley Lutheran junior forward Anna Munsen is closing in on the 1,000 career point total.

“Right now, she has 905 career points (prior to MVL’s game Monday night against Lake Crystal-Welcome Memorial),” MVL head coach Dave Biedenbender said. “She has seven regular season games left (including Monday’s contest).”

The 5-foot-11 Munsen is also strong on the boards. “She is third in career rebounds right now with around 680 rebounds.”

Biedenbender said that Munsen is ranked among the best Chargers girl’s basketball players such as all-time scoring leader Jessica Merseth [1,637 career points and Naci Melzer.] They [Merseth and Melzer] are the top two in career scoring and rebounding.”

Biedenbender said that Munsen “spends a lot of time in the off-season playing basketball. She plays AAU basketball and she always does our 10,000 shot club. She loves the game – she has a passion for the game.”

“She has a nice lefthanded hook shot and is very effective with that,” Biedenbender said. “She is relentless on the offensive boards and gets a lot of putback shots. She started as a freshman and is the only freshman that I have brought up to the varsity in my 14 years as head coach here.”

Biedenbender said that Munsen “just showed up at our basketball camp when she was in eighth grade. She looked ready to play then.”

JUNE BIG DATE FOR DISTRICT FOOTBALL: June will determine where schools will be aligned in the new football districts by the Minnesota State High School League.

Like all schools, Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s is anxious to see where they will be placed.

“Like all schools, we will not know until June where we will be placed,” St.Mary’s Athletic Director Bruce Woitas said.

But the future of Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s may well be determined in June of this year and again four years from now.

“We did a study of our numbers and we are probably four years away – because of what our male numbers would be then – of looking to go to nine-man football,” Woitas said. “Right now we are thinking that would be our best option versus co-oping with another school at this time.”

Woitas said that Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s “will stay 11-man football as long as we can. Right now we are 11-man regardless of what the scheduling is. With our numbers, we are four years away.”

Right now in the Southern Minnesota Conference, there are eight schools that because of enrollment could go nine-man football.

“But we choose to go up to 11-man,” Woitas said. “But they will re-district the teams every two years. We will have to pay attention to those years and decide for us when it is time for us to go to the 9-man route. Would other schools (in the Southern Minnesota Conference) do that? I do not know.”

Woitas said that St. Mary’s did a study after the football season.

“We decided that we would stay with our own program as long as we possibly can and then do nine-man first,” Woitas said. “Four years from now, that can change.”

While district football is being pushed by the Metro area schools, Woitas said that schools that were surveyed by the MSHSL indicated that they were fine with their current football schedule.

“That is partly because a lot of schools have already gone to a football-only conferences,” he said. “The hard thing now is they have approved it but no one knows where they are at.”

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