PITTSBURGH -- Reds reliever J.J. Hoover is a graduate of Elizabeth-Forward High School in suburban Pittsburgh, and he's thrilled to be wearing a Major League uniform in his hometown this weekend.
The right-hander was acquired from the Atlanta Braves on April 1 and recalled from Triple-A Louisville on April 24 when left-hander Bill Bray was placed on the disabled list.
"I've wanted to do this since I was little, and now to be able to do it in my home area is just surreal," said Hoover, who has worked four scoreless innings over his first three big league appearances. "I can't even describe how it feels to be back here in Pittsburgh and playing at PNC Park."
Hoover was born in 1987 and he became a fan of the Pirates in the early 1990s, when the team captured three straight NL East Division titles (1990-1992) under skipper Jim Leyland.
"Oh I liked Jay Bell, Doug Drabek, Andy Van Slyke and all those guys," Hoover said. "They were fun to watch."
When asked if he's received a lot of ticket requests for this weekend, Hoover said: "Yeah I have, especially with this being a first time thing. But it's mostly family and people that have followed me. I'm hearing from some people I haven't heard from in awhile, but most people are busy with their own lives. They don't have to follow a Minor Leaguer."