11/19 Hoffpauir eager to play in Japan

Micah Hoffpauir was shopping in a Dallas mall on Friday and added one more item to his holiday shopping list: some Japanese language tapes to help him adjust to his new team, the Nippon Ham Fighters. Hoffpauir, who has played his entire professional career with the Cubs, cleared unconditional release waivers on Friday and the rights to his contract were sold to the Japanese team. Those language tapes will help.

The Cubs are without a first baseman after trading Derrek Lee in August and letting free agent Xavier Nady go but Hoffpauir didn’t get a sense that he was their guy.

“I didn’t know what the Cubs were going to do,” Hoffpauir said. “Obviously, I thought they’d sign somebody and I’d be stuck in the same situation I was in the past. That’s not what we wanted. We wanted some sort of stability and that’s one of the main reasons we decided to do it.”

By “we,” Hoffpauir is including his wife Tiffany and soon to be 2-year-old daughter Addyson, who both had a vote. Hoffpauir plans on getting to Tokyo by Jan. 26 to get over jet lag before Spring Training begins Feb. 1.

“We’re definitely looking forward to the opportunity, no doubt,” Hoffpauir said. “It’ll be a neat experience.”

– Carrie Muskat

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