Cubs’ Patrick Wisdom finding hitting groove as opening day approaches

Wisdom hit home runs in both of his at-bats against the Royals on Sunday.

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Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom celebrates his second home run of the game with third base coach Willie Harris, during spring training at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona.

Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom celebrates his second home run of the game with third base coach Willie Harris, during spring training at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona.

John Antonoff/Sun-Times

MESA, Ariz. — Cubs third-base coach Willie Harris told third baseman Patrick Wisdom that he had prepared over the winter for their home-run celebration.

“I’ve been working on my jumps this offseason,” Harris said, according to Wisdom, “doing some squats and some other explosive work. So, I’m going to outjump you.”

When Wisdom launched a three-run homer over Sloan Park’s left-field berm Sunday, Harris performed up to the hype. He flew up the third-base line for a mid-air high five as Wisdom headed home.

Wisdom broke out of a slump in a big way, hitting home runs in both of his at-bats in the Cubs’ 13-12 victory against the Royals. He had just one hit entering the game.

“I was honestly probably more excited by my defense today,” he said. “I love when [Kyle Hendricks] is pitching. I know I’m going to get a lot of ground balls. And just to get that momentum going was good for me. I love that.

“The at-bats were nice, too. I’ll take them.”

Happ back in the outfield

Ian Happ played in the outfield for the first time this spring after undergoing an elbow procedure in February. He entered camp on a throwing program.

“He’s coming along,” manager David Ross said before the game. “I don’t think there’ll be any plays at the plate. He’s throwing into second today.”

With just a week and a half left in spring training, Ross felt it was important to get Happ some game reps. He served as the designated hitter in two Cactus League games before Sunday, and that will be an option in the regular season if the Cubs are still managing the stress on his arm.

Schwindel returns

First baseman Frank Schwindel returned to the lineup. He had been sidelined by back tightness for a week as the team took a cautious approach to his recovery.

Sunday was his first game without a hit, going 0-for-2. Schwindel is batting .400 through three games this spring.

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