Cubs call up Fuld instead of Hoffpauir

Cubs call up Fuld instead of Hoffpauir

CHICAGO -- Sam Fuld was about to take batting practice with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs for a game in Sacramento when he was told to head to the San Francisco airport to catch a red-eye flight to Chicago.

Fuld was surprised. Micah Hoffpauir was already en route to the airport because he thought he was being called up to the big league club after Derrek Lee was traded to the Braves.

"It did come as a surprise," Fuld said.

The Cubs added Fuld instead of Hoffpauir because of a technicality. Hoffpauir played for the Cubs last week in San Francisco, taking Lee's roster spot when he was put on the bereavement list. But because Hoffpauir hasn't been in the Minor Leagues for the minimum 10 days, he wasn't eligible to be recalled until Monday. If Lee was injured, then Hoffpauir could've been called up on Thursday.

Fuld was batting .266 in 97 games at Triple-A Iowa with four homers, 13 doubles and eight triples. He has 18 stolen bases.

"It's been kind of up and down, grinding it out [season]," Fuld said. "My numbers aren't pretty, but I've been getting on base. I haven't been as consistent as I have in the past. I've been doing the same things in the outfield, playing good defense."

Known for his daredevil catches, Fuld will be used in double switches and may get a start, Lou Piniella said.

Fuld was surprised to find his gear in Lee's locker at Wrigley Field.

"I"ve got some big shoes to fill," Fuld said of the prime location. "I didn't have any say in the matter. I'm not going to argue with it.

"[Lee has] obviously been a mainstay here. It's weird for me and I've only been here two hours."

Fuld can give a scouting report on Iowa Cubs manager Ryne Sandberg, a candidate to replace Piniella, who is retiring at the end of the season.

"He basically keeps it really simple," Fuld said. "Obviously, he demands a lot of respect based on who he is. You really get a sense of his work ethic there, and he's very consistent and has this amazing preparation and routine. His rules are simple: you play hard and you're on time. Other than that, he lets you play."