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Cubs promote former No. 1 pick Ian Happ to majors, starts Saturday

Ian happ

ST. LOUIS – Just when it looked like the Cubs had all their touted young hitters in the big leagues trying to defend a World Series championship, they added yet another one Saturday.

Ian Happ, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2015 draft, was promoted from AAA Iowa to help cover a series of minor injuries among lineup regulars.

The switch-hitting infielder-outfielder was in the lineup, batting second and playing right field.

The Cubs now have their last five No. 1 picks on the roster, including Javy Baez (2011), Albert Almora Jr. (2012), Kris Bryant (2013), Kyle Schwarber (2014).

“How long is he going to stay? I have no idea,” manager Joe Maddon said. “It can be short, it can be longer than that. I don’t know.”

After finishing last season with AA Tennessee, Happ followed an impressive big-league spring with his AAA debut.

He hit .298 with a .362 on-base percentage and nine homers in 26 games for Iowa.

Happ said he doesn’t feel he dominated at AAA. “But over the first 100 at-bats, over the first month, I felt good about what I did there.”

“He made an awesome impression on everybody,” veteran Ben Zobrist said of Happ’s spring. “He’s got power. He’s patient as a hitter. He’s a strong kid. He can hit.

“I think he’s going to help us. I’m excited for him to help us.”