Jacksonville’s Micah Hoffpauir cleared unconditional waivers on Friday and the rights to his contract were sold by the Chicago Cubs to the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japanese professional league.

The 30-year-old Hoffpauir has played his entire professional career in the Cubs’ organization.

He saw duty in 162 Major League games over a span of three seasons with the Cubs where he batted .251.

In 2008 the lefty-swinging Hoffpauir hit .342 in 33 games with Chicago.

A 13th-round draft pick in 2002, Hoffpauir owns a career .287 average in nine Major League seasons.

With new management guiding the Cubs in a new direction for 2011, Hoffpauir as well as primary firstbaseman Derrek Lee were no longer in the northsiders’ plans — Lee was traded in late season.

The move should enable Hoffpauir to receive much more playing time as the Ham Fighters are expected to utilize Hoffpauir both at firstbase and as a designated hitter.

The Ham Fighters, founded in 1946, call the city of Sapporo home and play their home games in the Sapporo Dome.

Nippon won the Japan Series title in 2006.

Hoffpauir’s contract is reported to be for one year.

Nippon’s Spring Training begins on Feb. 1, 2011.

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