Micah Hoffpauir

It was hola to one old friend and sayonara to another today, as the Cubs signed minor league FA INF Scott Moore to a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training 2011, and placed Micah Hoffpauir on Outright Release Waivers so that he can sign a contract with the Nippon Ham Fighters (NPB Pacific League) of Sapporo, Japan, where he will be playing on the same team as Japan's #1 pitcher, RHP Yu Darvish. 


With Hoffpauir being released, the Cubs now have 35 players on their MLB Reserve List (five slots open) as they continue to consider which players they will add to the 40-man roster by the 11/20 pre-Rule 5 Draft roster-filing deadline.   


Fausto Carmona threw six innings of two-hit shutout ball and Austin Kearns reached base three times and scored two runs, leading the Cleveland Indians to 9-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in warm & sunny Mesa.


Starlin Castro smacked an RBI double into the left-center gap to drive-in the tying run, and then scored the go-ahead tally on a Micah Hoffpauir double, as the Cubs rallied from a 6-2 deficit to edge the Los Angeles Angels 8-7 at Tempe Diablo Stadium this afternoon.


For all the pecularities that have plagued the 2009 Cubs, this Bobby Scales starting in left field has to be the most perplexing. First, let's look at the numbers:

For the second night in a row, the Cubs failed to support a deserving starting pitcher with any offense and they lost another low-scoring game to the Cardinals.

-- Tigers, Diamondbacks, Nationals, Astros; that's your complete list of the teams which ranked lower than the Cubs in Kevin Goldstein's organizational rankings at Baseball Prospectus (subscription required).

Goldstein's comments about the Cubs, who stood 16th in his '08 rankings:

"Josh Vitters is one of the best pure hitters in the minors; 2008 top pick Andrew Cashner's post-draft struggles were a fluke and his stuff will play; Jeff Samardzija finally began figuring things out."

"Other than Vitters, there is
really not a single hitter in this system that excites anyone; the
weakness in terms of the organization's depth is the key reason that
the long-rumored Jake Peavy deal never went down."

"Samardzija is the only player who is likely to lose his prospect status; there's no reason to see (the Cubs) moving up considerably (in the rankings)."

--We all know that spring training numbers mean next to nothing, but since Opening Day is, what, another 11 weeks away?, they're the only numbers we have, so let's enjoy them, dammit!

Micah Hoffpauir hit a three-run homer and reached base three times, Mike Fontenot drove in four runs with a two-run homer and a two-run triple, and Sam Fuld smacked a solo home run, scored two runs, and threw a runner out at the plate, as the Cubs thrashed the Texas Rangers 10-4 at Surprise Stadium today.

box score

Micah Hoffpauir crushed a grand slam in the bottom of the 5th, turning a two-run Cubs deficit into a two-run Cub lead, as the Cubs defeated the Dodgers 5-3 in the Cactus League opener for both clubs at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny and warm Mesa, Arizona 

box score  

Angel Guzman (September '07 TJS) had what was likely his final rehab outing last night at Iowa, pitching the 8th & 9th in a GF non-save situation in an I-Cubs victory, throwing two shutout inings (31 pitches - 23 strikes). With his minor league rehab going well, I fully expect the Cubs to reactivate Guzman from the 60-day DL on Monday when the MLB active rosters expand to 40.

I started a thread regarding the Sun-Times article this morning stating that many of the Cubs September call-ups may be delayed as the Iowa Cubs clinched the playoffs. The I-Cubs will host the Oklahoma RedHawks (Texas Rangers AAA affiliate) starting Sept 3rd in a best of 5 game series. The debate over what value the AAA playoffs bring vs getting a September reward as a call-up for a contending team doesn't get my debating shoes polished but it's interesting to see how the Cubs brass is going to handle this issue.

From the Gordon Wittenmyer notes:

The Class AAA Iowa Cubs are back in the playoffs for the first time in four years, and one small ramification at the big-league level is that a few anticipated September roster additions might stay with Iowa through its playoff series.

The exceptions: Pitchers Jon Lieber (foot) and Angel Guzman (elbow) are expected to be activated from the DL when rosters expand, and lefty hitter Micah Hoffpauir, who's having a monster season, is expected to join the big club right away.

I suppose getting Lieber is an upgrade on last year where Hendry dropped AAA talent on the Orioles for a near worthless Steve Traschel. Angel Guzman just might be another solid compliment in our bullpen. Micah Hoffpauir, well there is a big fan club out there rooting for some September Hoff-Power.

The biggest addition might not get up here until after the AAA playoffs. This is when Koyie Hill gets the call-up to add 5 mph to the pitching staff's fastballs. That's "Serious" music to my ears.

 

Paul Sullivan writes in the Tribune that the Cubs will recall Micah Hoffpauir from Iowa as the team begins its interleague schedule with three games at SkyDome this weekend. Lou Piniella's plan is to let Hoffpauir play first base and left field, which will alternately allow Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano to "rest" as they see DH duty.

Daryle Ward, still on the DL, took batting practice Tuesday and according to Sullivan "will report to the Cubs' complex in Mesa, Ariz., on Wednesday to get
some at-bats before going on a minor-league rehab stint at Iowa."

Micah Hoffpauir completed his injury rehab today, driving in the EXST Cubs first run in a 9-7 victory over the EXST Angels at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa, before heading back to Des Moines to rejoin the Iowa Cubs. . 

With Cubs Roving Minor League Infield Instructor Bobby Dickerson at Fitch Park this past week to help the young infielders improve their defensive technique, the EXST Cubs apparently decided to give Bobby D. an appropriate going away present by playing stellar defense that included a sharp 5-4-3 triple play in the top of the 7th, en route to a 5-2 victory over the EXST Mariners at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning. 

In addition, Iowa 1B Micah Hoffpauir (on the DL with a strained oblique since before PCL Opening Day) had such a great pre-game BP session hitting against Dickerson and Boise manager Tom Beyers on Field #1 that he was penciled into the starting lineup of the EXST game, and (hitting 3rd in both the 1st and 2nd innings) got two ABs, flying out 400 feet to the warning track in dead center in his first PA, and striking out on four pitches in his second AB. But he says he feels great and expects to be out of Fitch Park and on his way back to Des Moines to rejoin the I-CUBS ASAP.

The Angels (10-6) visit HoHoKam this afternoon at 3:05 to play the Cubs (6-12). The game will be carried on WGN Radio, WGN-TV, mlb.tv and Gameday Audio, but no one will be tuning in, as the world's attention will be focused instead on the University of Illinois' attempt to secure an NCAA Tournament berth.

Carlos Zambrano starts for the fourth time this spring. He's yielded just one earned run and one walk in nine innings--with eight strikeouts.

Among the hitters, Micah Hoffpauir remains the hittingest one we've had--18-for-37 (.486!) with a slugging percentage of .811(!!).

On the other hand, Kosuke Fukudome is getting cranky.

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