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|Hoffpauir working for 'the call'|
After playing spring training games with the St. Louis Cardinals, Jarrett Hoffpauir has had a hot bat with the Cardinals' triple-A Minor League team, currently hitting .318.
"I think that helped me a lot," Hoffpauir said of competing with the Major League team in Florida after being placed on their 40-man roster late last year.
"I realized how close I am," Hoffpauir said. "And I watched the Major League players, how they went about their business and how they prepared for each game. I got an idea of what it takes once you get there."
Hoffpauir got in a few at-bats, getting a base hit against the Washington Nationals, while also drawing a walk in a win against Florida.
"It was the late innings and I fought off a couple of pitches with two strikes on me," Hoffpauir said of his base-hit single. "It felt good to deliver a hit knowing my team needed it at that time."
Hoffpauir was optioned to Memphis, but not before being called into St. Louis Manager Tony LaRussa's office.
"Coach LaRussa told me I was a good player who is a professional hitter who plays good defense," Hoffpauir said. "He told me he likes my intensity and the way I play on the field. He told me to keep working hard and that you never know what might happen."
Hoffpauir has taken that advice well. He has collected four doubles.
"It's going good right now," Hoffpauir said. "Normally I don't do well in the cold, but I've been able to make contact. It was cold Sunday night. I'm glad to see it get out of here. Right now I'm just happy to get some at-bats. You get better with each time at the plate."
Hoffpauir said it is still a bit of a dream to have spent spring training with the Cardinal Major League team.
"It's still kind of surreal to be out there with guys you watch on TV," he said. "But then I realize I can play at the level, too."
Hoffpauir said he watches the Cardinal games more intently now.
"Those are my teammates now and I am rooting for them," he said.
After a .345 average in 61 games for Springfield, Hoffpauir was promoted to Memphis and hit .300 through 55 games.
Hoffpauir played in the prestigious Arizona Fall League last month, competing with the Mesa Solar Sox.
The Cardinals drafted the 192-pound Hoffpauir from Southern Mississippi in the sixth round in 2004.
"Right now I'm staying in the weight room, keeping as much weight on as possible and always prepared in case I get the call," he said. "I just want to make sure I am ready when the time comes."
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