- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2009

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. (AP) - Milwaukee closer Trevor Hoffman has been sidelined by a strain on his right side and the timetable for his return is unclear, Brewers manager Ken Macha said Tuesday.

“We are going to proceed cautiously, as we have done with all these injuries,” Macha said. “Every little thing you are concerned about, but the trainers aren’t very concerned about it. They think he’ll be fine.”

The 41-year-old Hoffman has missed one scheduled appearance this spring. He is baseball’s all-time saves leader, and signed with the Brewers in January after spending most of his career with San Diego.

Hoffman felt the injury the day after pitching a scoreless sixth inning in a 5-1 victory over Kansas City on March 13.

“The way Trevor told me, he didn’t feel anything after his inning. He didn’t feel anything on the bench. But driving in the next morning, he felt something,” Macha said.

Hoffman has pitched four innings this spring, including one appearance in a minor league game. He has given up one hit in three innings in three major league exhibition games.

“At his age, I’d like him to have appearances at least on back-to-back dates,” Macha said.

The Brewers open the regular season April 7 at San Francisco. Right-handers David Riske, Todd Coffey and Jorge Julio could fill in at closer if needed.

Also, the Brewers claimed right-hander Wes Littleton off waivers from Boston on Tuesday. To make room on the 40-man roster, the team designated Rule 5 selection Eduardo Morlan for assignment.

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