He pitched two one-inning stints for Triple-A Nashville while rehabbing in the Minors.
"It's sort of like the end of Spring Training," Hoffman said of his two games in the Minors. "You want to get out of it relatively healthy. Each outing I accomplished something. I got a little closer to being ready.
"I'm anxious to get out there and compete again. Standing around watching the guys play gets a little old. It's definitely not the way you want to join a new ballcub -- two weeks late. Based on the circumstances, I appreciate their patience."
How healthy is Hoffman?
"I'm there," he said. "I'm basically set. When we come back from this thing once, we don't want to have to do it again. I'm available to pitch [Sunday]."
Hoffman doesn't believe that his age makes it harder to get ready for each season.
"Anytime you get a little older than mid-20s, there's things you're going to have to go through to get ready," he said. "I don't feel like it's been anything out of the ordinary that I've been doing the last 10-15 years. [Age] is just a number. There's other ways I'm constantly reminded that I'm old.
"In the game of baseball, you get so caught up in the time warp. A week can seem like forever, and 10 years can go by [in a flash]. It's weird how time plays tricks on you."
Hoffman never imagined he would still be pitching in the Majors at his age.
"You never want to take for granted your years, stats, when you respect the game and how hard it is, and the people who played it before you, and the people who you're competing against," he said. "You cherish each and every day you have an opportunity to play."
Except for 2003, when he missed nearly the entire season after undergoing shoulder surgery, Hoffman has saved at least 30 games every year since 1995. He remained at the top of his profession, with an ERA under 3.00 for 10 of those seasons.
"I don't think there's a whole lot of room for mediocrity in the closer's role," he said. "Either you do it, or you're going to be gone. It's kind of been part of the territory from Day 1."
What if Hoffman lost just a little bit off his pitches? Would he stay in the game if he wasn't a closer?
"I'll have to cross that bridge if I ever got to that time," he said.
Todd Coffey picked up two saves and Carlos Villanueva one for Milwaukee in Hoffman's absence. Macha said he would not designate either one as the eighth-inning setup man for Hoffman.
"I'll take a look at the matchups," Macha said. "They bring different things to the table. The situation without [Hoffman] helped the confidence of the guys setting him up."
MIL: LHP Manny Parra (0-3, 8.16 ERA)
Parra continued a poor start to the season by allowing five runs and 10 baserunners -- seven hits, three walks -- in four innings, taking the loss against the Phillies on Tuesday. He's allowed at least three runs in all three of his starts and has issued nine walks in 14 1/3 innings this season. Parra has a 5.47 ERA in five career starts against the Astros but has a 3-2 record in those games.
HOU: RHP Russ Ortiz (1-0, 5.93 ERA)
Ortiz wasn't efficient in his previous start, against the Dodgers, but it was enough to earn his first win of the season. Ortiz threw 116 pitches over five frames, yielding three runs on three hits while walking five. Ortiz has made nine starts against the Brewers, going 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA.
Lefty R.J. Swindle was optioned to Triple-A Nashville after the game to make room for Hoffman. ... Houston catcher Humberto Quintero was placed on the disabled list Saturday with a strained right shoulder after a collision with Milwaukee's Mike Cameron. "It hurt," said Cameron, who was attempting to score from second on a single by J.J. Hardy. "I was a little dazed, but I was fine." Cameron said he would have attempted to slide if Quintero was at the plate, but the catcher had to come up the third-base line a couple of steps to field the throw from right fielder Hunter Pence. Cameron said he wasn't surprised Quintero held onto the ball. "He had time to secure himself," Cameron said. "It's part of the game. I was disappointed they booed [me]. They cheered him. That's cool. I can't believe somebody questioned whether it was a dirty play."
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Official game notes
Monday: Brewers (Braden Looper, 2-0, 2.12) vs. Pirates (Jeff Karstens, 1-0, 3.60), 7:05 p.m. CT
Tuesday: Brewers (TBD) vs. Pirates (Paul Maholm, 3-0, 2.03), 7:05 p.m. CT
Wednesday: Brewers (Yovani Gallardo, 2-1, 3.71) vs. Pirates (Ian Snell, 1-2, 4.50), 12:05 p.m. CT