Hoover making favorable impression on Reds

Hoover making favorable impression on Reds

Hoover making favorable impression on Reds
ATLANTA -- The closest right-hander J.J. Hoover got to Turner Field as a member of the Braves' organization was 12 games with Atlanta's Triple-A team in suburban Gwinnett last season.

The 24-year-old reliever reached the Majors quickly with the Reds, though, after being acquired for third baseman Juan Francisco at the end of Spring Training.

"I was definitely surprised with the trade," Hoover said. "I was pretty much in my truck ready to head to Gwinnett."

Hoover, who had been ranked by MLB.com as the Braves' No. 13 prospect, made eight appearances with Triple-A Louisville before being promoted to the Reds on April 24, when lefty reliever Bill Bray had to go on the disabled list because of a strained left groin. Hoover is now ranked as the Reds' No. 13 prospect on MLB.com's Top 20 Prospects list.

Although the Reds certainly wouldn't mind having Francisco back with Scott Rolen on the DL, Hoover has made a good early impression.

"The guy throws the ball well and throws strikes," manager Dusty Baker said. "He shows no fear, which is what you want coming out of the bullpen. ... With Bray and [Nick] Masset going down, we needed someone."

Hoover allowed three inherited runners to score last Tuesday against the Brewers, but he came into the Braves series with a 1.23 ERA in seven games and had given up only four hits and three walks in 7 1/3 innings while striking out seven.

Converted from a starter to a reliever late last June, Hoover posted a 0.82 ERA over 29 games in that role with Double-A Mississippi and Gwinnett last season.

"I'm just glad to be pitching," said Hoover, whose only visits to Turner Field before Monday were for Braves pitching camp prior to Spring Training. "It doesn't matter what role."