Brewers put Hoffman on disabled list Monday, March 30, 2009 PHOENIX (AP) – Milwaukee Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman was put on the 15-day disabled list Monday, ruling the all-time saves leader out for the start of the season. The move made Monday is retroactive to March 27. Hoffman strained his right oblique muscle after pitching an inning on March 13 and has had little activity for about three weeks. Hoffman, 41, tossed the baseball around Sunday, but is not ready to take the mound. “We met with him this morning,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “He is feeling much better and has shown much improvement. He has the normal 'day-after' soreness (after pitching). We did this because we didn't want him to feel he's in a hurry-up mode.” Hoffman leader signed a $6 million, one-year contract in January with Milwaukee as a free agent after spending more than 15 seasons with the Padres. Brewers manager Ken Macha says he will continue to evaluate potential candidates to fill in for Hoffman, who has 554 career saves. The most likely to step in would be right-hander Carlos Villanueva, who had been projected to pitch the eighth inning. Hoffman is eligible to return April 11, the day after the Brewers home opener. Also, veteran infielder Craig Counsell was in the lineup Monday against Seattle after testing his sore right knee the last few days in minor league games. Ash said Counsell faces the possibility of surgery if the knee does not improve. Ash said Counsell has a torn meniscus and surgery would sideline him for two to three weeks. It's not certain when the injury occurred, but Counsell “tweaked” it recently, Ash said.