Micah Hoffpauir and Koyie Hill have made the Cubs opening day roster. The Cubs released both Paul Bako and Mike Stanton as the Cubs roster now stands at 28 players. The position players are now set for the 2009 MLB schedule, while 4 relievers are still battling for the final 2 spots in the Cubs bullpen.
Hill outplayed Bako to earn the Cubs backup catcher job. Hill hit .391 this spring and showed tremendous resolve returning from a horrific table saw accident in which he severed three of his fingers. He played most of the 2008 at Triple-A Iowa and batted .275 with 17 home runs and 64 RBI’s. Bako played well this spring – .364 batting average – but it wasn’t enough.
Cubs Manager Lou Pinella had this to say about Hill: “Koyie’s worked hard, it’s a good story, he’s been here before. When he had a chance to catch here, he caught well and helped us win some ballgames. He had to come in here and compete, and compete he did. He’s had one of the better springs.
Hoffpauir had a tremendous spring for the Cubs. He batted .286 and led the team with 5 home runs. Hoffpauir was also among Cactus-league leaders in RBI’s with 24. Hoffpauir was excited to make the team right out of the gates: “It’s a great feeling. It’s a dream come true. To make the Opening Day roster is special. It’s the first time for me. Hopefully, I can stick around and help the team out a little bit.”
Congrats to Hill and Hoffpauir. Let’s hope they can help Soto and Lee get some extra rest during the course of the long MLB season and be productive members of the Cubs at the major league level in 2009.