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|Hoffpauir adjusting to Majors|
Jarrett Hoffpauir ran onto Wrigley Field long before the first pitch on July 10 before the Cardinals' four-game series began to just take in the moment.
"It was unbelievable," Hoffpauir said. "I went out there early when there were no fans and no media and just looked around. I felt like a kid in candy store. I had chill bumps down my body from all the history."
A little while later Hoffpauir found out what it's like to be the opposing team when he was warming up, especially when he ran out to the outfield where Cub fans reminded him of a guy named Micah Hoffpauir who plays for Chicago.
"They were yelling at me, telling me their Hoffpauir was better than me," he said. "I couldn't help but laugh. It's all in fun."
Hoffpauir walked in that contest. It was the seventh time he's gotten on base since being called up from Memphis on July 1.
"I'm still trying to get settled in and relaxed," he said. "I'm still learning the ropes and hoping to stick around a while."
Hoffpauir used the All-Star break to go back down to Memphis and retrieve some belongings after being called up while on a road trip to Albuquerque, N.M.
The Vidalia native ended June by being named the St. Louis Cardinals' minor-league player of the month.
He began July by being promoted to the Cardinals and coming through with a game-winning hit in his major league debut.
"It's been pretty surreal," Hoffpauir said.
The 26-year-old Hoffpauir hit .327 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs for Class AAA Memphis in June to earn the Minor League honor.
Hoffpauir spent spring training with the Cardinals in Florida.
Hoffpauir was hitting .276 with the Memphis Redbirds, and was leading the Cardinals' triple-A team with 10 home runs. Injuries to Cardinal players played a big role in the move.
Joe Mather, Hoffpauir's former roommate in Memphis, recently underwent his third wrist operation
Infielder Mark DeRosa was placed on the 15-day disabled list by St. Louis on July 7, 10 days after the Cardinals acquired the coveted versatile player in a trade with Cleveland.
The Cardinals placed Khalil Greene back on the disabled list after the infielder suffered a relapse in his battle with social anxiety disorder.
"I have no idea what's ahead for me, especially when DeRosa comes back," Hoffpauir said. "I'm just trying to prove I can play. If I do get sent down, hopefully when they expand the roster in September I will be called back up."
Hoffpauir has not had an error in the field, being credited with one putout, 10 assists and being involved in two double plays.
Hoffpauir played third base in one game.
"It's still a matter of catching the ball and throwing it," he said. "You don't have as much time at third base so you don't think about it, which is a good things."
Hoffpauir has had a few "webgems," including making a stop and out behind second base and charging a ball near the pitcher's mound and throwing out a runner.
"I need to play good defense to be a late-inning guy," he said. "I can come in at second, shortstop or third."
Hoffpauir got his first start on July 9 at Milwaukee, going 0-for-3 with a walk.
"That was awesome," he said. "Coach LaRussa told me I would start the day before because they were throwing a left-hander. I was nervous the first two innings, but after that everything was just normal. It was pretty cool playing next to Albert Pujols."
Pujols is hitting .332 with 32 home runs and 87 RBIs.
"He's unbelievable," Hoffpauir said. "Just when you get to the point you think there's nothing else he can do, he proves you wrong."
Pujols has pulled Hoffpauir over a couple of times before his at-bats to give him some advice.
"When Pujols speaks, you listen," he said.
Hoffpauir said LaRussa is a mastermind.
"He's always thinking and you never know what's going through his head," he said. "You have to be ready at all times in every situation. You have to always be ready to roll."
Despite being brought in against left-handed pitchers, Hoffpauir, who bats from the right side of the plate, is hitting ,667 against right-handers and .143 against left-handers in the Majors.
"Normally I hit right-handers pretty good, but early this year I got hot against the lefties," he said. "That's what they've got me up here for, so I need to get some hits and get my average back up there."
Hoffpauir knows it's just a matter of taking advantage of every opportunity he gets.
"I'm getting more comfortable and confident every day," he said. "I know what to expect now and just go about my business not worrying about doing things right or wrong."
Hoffpauir said the all-star break came at a good time.
"It's a long season and anytime you can get a break you need to relax," he said. "I'm ready to get back after it now."
And that means helping his team maintain first place in the NL Central Division. St. Louis hosts Arizona Friday before traveling to Houston on Monday.
"The guys in this organization are here to win every day," Hoffpauir said. "That's the fun part of it."
|Frank Morris Murder Series|