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Price stands behind improving Hoover

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DENVER -- There is no doubt that Reds reliever J.J. Hoover has often struggled this season and he has the 1-8 record and 5.13 ERA in 43 games entering Friday to prove it. Lately however, Hoover has shown promising signs.

There have been no hits allowed by Hoover in any of his last three appearances and no runs allowed over his last four. He has 10 strikeouts over his last six innings pitched.

"There are certain pieces to each pitcher's delivery that makes them very successful or vulnerable to missing locations," Reds manager Bryan Price said Friday. "I think he's really got his delivery in shape. And he's just feeling it."

Hoover, who has 48 hits allowed with 27 walks in 52 2/3 innings, has shown better command of his fastball and breaking ball of late. Earlier in the season, he was used in higher-leverage situations, especially when Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman were both on the disabled list.

Recently, Price has used Hoover in lower-leverage situations and Hoover has produced. He could increase his profile again with continued progress. Price remains in the right-hander's corner.

"Hoov kind of lost his way there for a while," Price said. "[But] I think he's proven he's an outstanding Major League pitcher. I can't let a two- or three-month stretch define who he is as a Major Leaguer. It's hard to find guys who pitch out of the bullpen that go four, five, six or seven years of real dominating performances. You don't want to quit on guys that have stretches of ineffectiveness."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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