Hoffpauir Tasting Triple-A

The Iowa Cubs have gotten off to a slow start to 2005. The team is 1-7 in their first eight games and hitting only .228 as a whole. One player that isn't struggling as much is starting first baseman/outfielder Micah Hoffpauir.

Hoffpauir was a late-season call-up to Iowa last September in time for the Pacific Coast League playoffs. He finished 8-for-27 in the postseason, batting .296 with three doubles. He admits he wasn't too surprised when he learned he'd been assigned to Iowa to start 2005, but was nonetheless grateful for the opportunity.

"I tell you what," said Hoffpauir, "I have really been blessed to have the chance to play and the ability to do so. I'm really looking forward to being with some of the older guys this year and seeing how they handle things."

Hoffpauir played several games this spring in the outfield and 24 there two seasons ago at Class-A Daytona. So far this season, he has made six starts at first base and one in left field.

"You get a few games here and a few games there," said Hoffpauir, who started in left on Sunday (April 10) and has received most of his starts batting second in the lineup.

While Triple-A is still new to Hoffpauir, there are a few familiar faces for the 25-year-old Texas native. Teammates Ronny Cedeno and Geovany Soto have been with Hoffpauir since 2002 and 2003, respectively, and Iowa pitching coach Rick Kranitz was Hoffpauir's manager in '03 at Daytona.

"So far this season, everyone has been great," said Hoffpauir. "It's really been a really good experience to this point. Obviously I know Kranitz pretty well and I really like all of the coaches on this team."

Hoffpauir suffered a wrist injury in a game at Double-A Birmingham last year in June. He missed over a month, but returned on August 1 and hit .323 with three home runs and 21 RBI in his final 27 games at West Tenn before the promotion to Iowa.

Asked what his goals were this season, Hoffpauir downplayed any importance of placing expectations on himself.

"I don't really want to put any (expectations) on myself," said Hoffpauir. "I obviously have them, but you never want to set them at an outrageous level."

Instead, Hoffpauir says he will settle for a season of fun and good health.

"I really want to get off to a good start," Hoffpauir said. "I want to play a full season this year and stay healthy. And I want to show the coaching staff and the people of Iowa that I can play and that I'm not going to be a goofball or something."

Through his first eight games at Iowa, Hoffpauir is batting .269 with a double and two RBI. Iowa hosts Albuquerque in their first homestand of the year beginning Friday night at Principal Park.


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