Down on the Farm: Pat Listach on Micah Hoffpauir

Throughout the season, Vine Line Online will speak with players, managers and front-office personnel in the minor-league system. Today, “Down on the Farm” checks in with Pat Listach, manager of the Iowa Cubs, about what he expects to see from Micah Hoffpauir in Chicago. Keep coming to the blog for reports, player profiles, interviews and stories during the week.

What to expect when expecting Hoffpauir

Chicagoans have been expecting Hoffpauir to join the Cubs for some time now, and after a herniated disc sidelined Daryle Ward, Hoffpauir finally got his shot. The 28-year-old had a monstrous 2007 Triple-A campaign, hitting .319 with 16 home runs and 73 RBIs, but a knee injury cut his season short, limiting him to only 82 games. Unfazed, the lefty followed that up by posting even better numbers in spring training. After a stint on the DL early this season, he continued to hit: In nine games for Iowa this year, Hoffpauir hit .324 with 3 home runs and 12 RBIs.

Count Pat Listach, the manager of the Iowa Cubs, as a believer that Hoffpauir will continue to mash in Chicago.

Hoffpauir.jpg“He’s going to hit.” Listach said. “He’s been a really good hitter the last few years, and I think he’s going to hit up there as well. He is going to provide some power from the left side of the plate.”

Hoffpauir’s hitting skills are proven, but some still question whether he is ready to play a major-league outfield after taking up the position this year. However, Hoffpauir has shown his Triple-A manager that he is more than ready for the challenge.

“You know what, he’s a good athlete,” Listach said. “He gets good jumps on the ball, he’s not a blazer, and he doesn’t have great speed. But he gets good jumps, and he makes the plays. If he gets to the ball, he catches it. He has no problem with that. He looks like a natural out there to be honest.”

Spending six years in the minors has been tough on Hoffpauir, and he is ready to make a name for himself at the major-league level. Listach and his staff have worked hard with Hoffpauir to make this next step and are glad the 2002 13th-round pick is finally getting a chance.

“He’s a great kid,” Listach said. “I couldn’t be happier for him. He’s really earned it, and he’s worked hard and has battled through some injuries. He’s finally there, and he’s playing good. He got a couple hits [the other day]. So we are really happy for him.”

Hoffpauir recorded his first major-league start (in leftfield) and base hit on May 21 in Houston. The hit, a double down the leftfield line was the first of two for the game. Since being called up on May 18, the Texas native has gone 5-for-11, and he recorded his first RBI last night, pinch-hitting in the eighth inning. Hoffpauir looks to be comfortable with his new surroundings and seems to be catching the eyes of everyone he plays around.

— Zach Martin

 Iowa Cubs (AAA): 27-26 Overalliowa cubs.gif
Northern Division Tied 1st Place

Iowa staged some late inning heroics, erasing a 4-2 deficit with two runs in the eighth and Casey McGehee‘s walk-off homer in the ninth, taking the 5-4 victory.

RHP Kevin Hart (ND 1-1, 3.81) 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K

HOMERS – Jason Dubois (2), Casey McGehee (6)

? C-3B McGehee finished the game 2-for-4 with a home run, a run and an RBI … the dinger was his sixth of the season … he has recorded an RBI in each of his last three games, four total.
? 1B Jason Dubois hit his second home run in four games with the I-Cubs, going 1-for-3 with the two-run homer, a run scored and three RBI.
? RHP Gregory Reinhard pitched a scoreless ninth, yielding a hit while striking out one, to earn the win on the day he was recalled from Tennessee-AA.

Tennessee Smokies (AA): 21-33 Overallsmokies.gif
North Division 5th Place (-12.0)

Carolina led 6-2 going into the bottom of the eighth, but Tennessee roared back with three in the eighth and one in the ninth to force extra baseball, winning it in the 10th, 7-6.

LHP James Russell (ND 2-0, 3.86) 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

? CF Sam Fuld went 4-for-5 with a walk and an RBI, recording his fourth multi-hit game in his last five starts … he is batting .417 (10-for-24) over that stretch.
? The Smokies featured a balanced attack, as their seven runs were driven in by seven different players.
? RHP Michael Cooper earned his first win of the year, throwing 2.0 hitless innings, allowing two walks while striking out one.

Daytona Cubs (A+): 26-27 Overalldaytona.gif
East Division 4th Place (-7.0)

Daytona jumped on Brevard County for four runs in the first and never looked back, thumping the Manatees, 9-3.

RHP Marco Carillo (W 3-3, 3.31) 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

HOMERS – Jonathan Wyatt (3)

? CF Jonathan Wyatt went 1-for-3 with two walks, a homer, two runs scored and tied a season-high with three RBI … the long ball was his third of the year and his first since April 20th against Jupiter.
? 2B Tony Thomas was 3-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI … over the last five contests, he is 10-for-23 (.435) with four doubles and four straight multi-hit games.
? LHP Jayson Ruhlman (2.0) and RHP Rocky Roquet (2.0) combined to throw 4.0 scoreless innings of relief, allowing just a walk and a single while striking out three.
? The Florida State League announced their All-Star roster, which includes five Cubs: RHP Alex Maestri, LHP Casey Lambert, C Welington Castillo, OF James Adduci and Thomas.

Peoria Chiefs (A-): 21-32 Overallchiefs.gif
Western Division Tied 7th Place (-17.5)

Peoria scored four times in the second inning en route to a 7-4 victory over Cedar Rapids.

LHP Chris Siegfried (ND 1-3, 5.40) 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

HOMERS – Elvis Lara (2), Marquez Smith (6)

? 2B Marquez Smith homered for the second straight night, going 2-for-4 with a homer, two RBI and two runs scored … he extended his hitting streak to nine games, over which he is hitting at a .433 (13-for-30) clip with a double, three homers, and seven RBI.
? DH Elvis Lara hit his second home run of the year, a three-run blast in the second, and finished the night 1-for-4 with a run scored and a season-high four RBI.
? SS Chris Samson went 2-for-4 with a walk, raising his average to a season-high .260.

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