Godwin Talks Hoffman

East Carolina baseball coach Billy Godwin talks about Jeff Hoffman's season-ending surgery after Wednesday's practice.

Tough news about Jeff Hoffman heading into an important weekend.

"It's tough any time any of our guys get injured, especially to lose our Friday night guy. We all love him. We want him to be out there for us and he wants to be out there for us. It's part of the game. Somebody else has got to pick up like we have the last two weeks. (We have to) try to pitch in and step up at the right time."

The press release said the decision was made in conjunction with his family. Talk about that process.

"We did everything possible during the 10-day shutdown to make sure we had all the I's dotted and t's crossed, so to speak, and had all the tests done that were necessary. When we got the initial tests back, it called for a second opinion. We had a second opinion. It was Dr. Andrews. He had some options after that, which I won't go into. We felt like, if this was my son, this would be the duration he would go.

That's the way I treat this and these kinds of decisions. We're trying to work through it with families and make the decisions that, if this was my son—I feel like he is, so I'm probably as disappointed as anyone. But we just had some conversations with family about moving forward and what's best for him and his recovery and the quickest recovery for him to be 100 percent. We felt like this was the best avenue to take."

Can you go into particulars about what the injury is? Is it Tommy John as many expected?

"It is. I have permission to say that. It is Tommy John and he will have Tommy John surgery sometime next week. We don't have the exact date. We're working on that right now."

What is your message to a team that may be on the fence about taking Hoffman in the draft because of this?

"The history says it all. Guys have it and come back. I don't want to use the word ‘commonplace,' but it's not uncommon. The professional pitchers, or any guys that have it, my experience is they come back bigger and better than they were. It's a setback, but, in my opinion, it's a minor setback. He's going to go on. I told him I look forward to, about four or five years, sitting in a park at an All Star game watching him pitch. I really believe that.

Have you talked to him about his future? He's had a lot of interest come his way, but he's not a senior.

"We'll just let the process take its course. We haven't talked anything about his future. It's more concern for Jeff and making sure he can get the best possible care he can get. As we go through this next month leading up to the draft, it will all unfold. What's best for him. There hasn't been a lot of conversation about what's best for him. We're all just trying to support him as best as we can like we did with Travis (Watkins) and Ben (Fultz) and those guys who went down during the course of the year. That's really it."

How disappointed is he?

"He's handled it very well, to be honest. A lot better than I probably would have. He's very mature. Jeff has matured. He's got tremendous work ethic. He's got tremendous drive and competitiveness. This is another way to compete against something and get back on the field as soon as he can. He's actually had a very good attitude about this in my meetings with him and my talking with him."

Without having a midweek game, it frees up a lot of pitchers. Are you going to stick with the rotation you've had for the last few weeks or are you going to change it up?

"We're going to change it up. We're going to throw (Reid) Love on Friday, (Tyler) Bolton on Saturday, move (Brett) Mabry back to the bullpen and do (David) Lucroy on Sunday."

In what might have been his last game here, Hoffman threw 16 strikeouts and could be ECU's highest draft pick. How do you think he'll be remembered?

"As a fierce competitor and a kid who gave everything he had for the name on the front of his jersey. That's what I think of him when I think about it. I get to see behind the scenes how hard these guys work and how hard they prepare themselves. I think, for anybody on the outside looking in, they have to see the same thing, too. His last game here certainly was one of his best. That's what I think about Jeff Hoffman when I think about Jeff Hoffman—a guy who prepares himself, does all the things the right way, and competes. He's going to take this and run with it and make himself better because of it."

How do you have the rest of the team leave this and move on with a very important series this weekend?

"I think we've had a little bit of experience doing that. In athletics, injuries are part of our game. It's an unfortunate part of our game. We kind of talk about that as a time for somebody to step up. Our guys know what's at stake here. I think really important that somebody steps up and really give somebody else an opportunity to step into his role and help us win. It's a big weekend for us. There's no doubt. They're all big. I fully expect that Reid, Tyler and David will do that."


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