Q&A with Micah Hoffpauir

A Q&A with the first base prospect.                                                            

Q: You recently injured your wrist. How is the wrist and how did the injury come about?

A: Right now it's healing. What happened was in Birmingham, there was a weak little flyball hit over the infield and when I went to catch it, I dove and something just started bothering me. I didn't know what it was so I went and told my trainer about it. The next morning we went and got X-rays taken, and the doctor didn't see anything so I set out for about two or three games and then came back and started playing again. We were playing in Carolina right before the end of the first half, and there was a play when I stretched to first base and kind of held myself up with my left hand, and it just shot pain all through my hand and body. I told my trainer, "There may be something wrong here." And he said, "maybe so." He got on the phone to the doctors in Chicago and they wanted to see me there. So we went to Chicago as soon as we got back from Carolina. We saw a hand specialist and he told me I had a partially torn ligament. He said the reason they didn't do surgery was because of the type of injury it is. He related it to sticking a piece of paper to a wall and pulling it off. It's like the piece of paint that's going to come off that tape. He said that's what it would be like. What he said was, "there would be a sliver of bone when the tendon came up." So whenever the bone heals, the tendon will be as strong as it was before.

Q: How are you feeling now, and how close are you to returning?

A: Since I can't really do anything right now, it's really not hurting me at all. I know that mentally I'm ready to play, but physically I don't think I'm ready to go just yet. I have a doctor's appointment on the 15th of July back in Chicago where I'm going to see the hand specialist again. After that, if he releases me I'll probably have a period where I'll strengthen my ribs from the left side of my body. And the reason for that is because during this DL stint, I've had to work out solely from the right side of my body. It all depends on when I get back to the doctor and when he allows me to start rehabbing and getting ready to play. Once that happens, I think it will probably take me anywhere from 7 to 10 days to get back to where I'm ready to play. I'm not really sure; just depends on how my wrist handles it.

Q: This is now your third year in the system and your second full year. What are some of the biggest changes you've noticed from where you are now as opposed to where you were when you signed a couple of years back?

A: Well in Boise, where I started out, it's a little different in that if you can hit a fastball there, usually you can do pretty good. Daytona is a little different because there is better heat from the opposing pitchers and better off-speed pitches. Guys can throw their off-speed pitches for strikes, whereas in Double-A, you never know what to expect. They can throw anything. They can throw pretty much all of their pitches for strikes, in other words. So I would say the pitching is really the biggest difference.

Q: You were named to back-to-back All-Star teams. What do you attribute to that success?

A: At Daytona and West Tenn, I got off to really good starts. I came out of the gates really hot. Last year at Daytona was my first full season. I wasn't really prepared for the long season, so I really don't know as far as what the reason for it is, rather than hitting the ball really well to all fields and playing good defense.

Q: Speaking of hitting, let's talk about your approach at the plate.

A: I consider myself more of a gap-to-gap hitter with occasional power. I think once I get more mature in my game, I'll develop more power. But right now I consider myself more of a doubles guy. I know I haven't hit too many doubles this season, but that's still more along the lines of what I consider myself as: a gap-to-gap guy who drives in runs.

Q: And you've also played some DH in your career, right?

A: A little DH and a little bit of outfield. Growing up, I've always been a first baseman. I played a little bit of the outfield in high school and Junior College, but not a lot in college ball.

Q: Who has been the biggest help to your career not only in terms of coaches, but inspirationally as well?

A: Well, there's my dad. My dad has coached me since I was barely able to pick up a bat. He's the one that taught me how to swing. As far as defense, I don't really know who to attribute that to. But over time, I've gotten better at first base. All the coaches I've worked for have been great guys to work with. As for inspirational, I can't really say that I've had any role models, but I've always enjoyed watching Rafael Palmeiro play. I liked to watch Will Clark when he was playing. Those are the kind of guys that I really enjoyed watching play—the left-handed hitting first base kind of guys.

Q: You mentioned attending Lamar University. Tell us a little about your college career there. The organization has a few prospects from that particular area already in the system. I know that Thomas Atlee and a new guy by the name of Jonathan Hunton are two of those.

A: Yeah, he (Thomas) and I played two years of ball together there. Lamar was really an answered prayer. I left Junior College my second year in Jacksonville, and I really didn't have a lot of people interested in me playing-wise. It wasn't because I didn't play well; I just didn't get the coverage and stuff like that. But Lamar came along and they offered me a pretty good scholarship. So I went down there and the first year I played, I think I hit .391 or .395. Then I went back my Senior year and had pretty much the same year. I think my average was about .335. I spent two pretty good seasons down there and really had a good time. It was a fun place to play. We went to regionals my Senior year and lost. I think we got beat by Texas but I'm not sure. But anyway, it was a lot of fun down there.

Northsiders Report Top Stories