LOS ANGELES — Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he isn’t ready to bail on rookie Ian Happ despite a slump that deepened to 2-for-21 Sunday.
“I have no preconceived notions on how long to stick with somebody or not,” Maddon said when asked about Happ, a switch hitter who got off to a torrid start his first nine games and has started at four defensive positions.
“I think it’s up to the player and how you react to the bad moments. Everybody looks good when they’re going good. How do you look when you’re going badly? That’s what really sets a guy apart. So far, I think he’s handled it really well.”
Happ, 22, has been Maddon’s daily choice to protect Anthony Rizzo from the fourth or fifth spot in the order since Ben Zobrist became his regular leadoff man.
He struck out three times against Clayton Kershaw and once against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen during an 0-for-5 day. Happ was the only non-pitcher in the lineup who failed to reach base in one of the worst outings of Kershaw’s career.
Maddon said how long Happ continues to stay in the lineup, or the big leagues this time around, depends on how quickly he makes adjustments now that the league clearly has a book on him. He said he has seen signs of it in recent days that make him
“I think with all the information that’s disseminated these days, the league adjusts to you quickly,” Happ said. “It’s your job to adjust back.”
Zobrist missed his second consecutive game after hurting his left wrist on a swing in the first inning Friday night — a precautionary lineup decision, Maddon said.
“I know that it feels a ton better today than it did yesterday,” Zobrist said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if [Monday] I’m back in the lineup.”
Zobrist is 13-for-31 (.419) with three home runs in his last nine games.
Dodgers left fielder Franklin Gutierrez left the game in the middle of the first inning because of “illness,” the Dodgers said.
Yasiel Puig, who pinch-hit in his place in the first, went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer.
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