Lucky 11th home run puts Cubs’ Ian Happ on exclusive list of switch hitters

Happ homered twice in the Cubs’ 5-4 loss to the Nationals on Monday.

SHARE Lucky 11th home run puts Cubs’ Ian Happ on exclusive list of switch hitters
Cubs switch hitter Ian Happ hits a solo home run, his second of the game, in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 15, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Cubs switch hitter Ian Happ hits a solo home run, his second of the game, in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 15, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Getty

WASHINGTON — Cubs outfielder Ian Happ already knew his 11th home run this season would put him in an exclusive group of switch-hitters when he stepped to the plate in the first inning Monday.

Then Happ launched a curveball into the right-field stands at Nationals Park.

The feat, to be honest, sets some arbitrary parameters. Happ’s first homer against the Nationals made him only the sixth switch-hitter in the modern era (since 1901) to hit at least 11 homers in each of his first six major-league seasons. But it also put him on a list with two Hall of Famers and a couple of more Silver Sluggers.

Happ joined Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray, Mark Teixeira, Jose Cruz and Ruben Sierra.

‘‘It’s a pretty cool list,’’ Happ said after the Cubs’ 5-4 loss. ‘‘I take a lot of pride in that. . . . Being able to [switch-hit] at this level, anytime you can have little things like that, where you’re on the list with some of the best to ever do it, those are really cool moments that I try to cherish.’’

Happ, however, didn’t stop at one homer. He hit his second of the night in the fifth. The towering shot to right-center put him one homer away from 100 in his career.

‘‘This guy continues to do things in his career that are really impressive,’’ manager David Ross said. ‘‘The year he’s putting together is phenomenal. Just on his way to continue to put up numbers, done a really nice job. I think the most impressive thing is the switch-hitting part. That’s really difficult.”

Happ also has hit more straightforward milestones this season. With his 10th homer this season, which he logged Saturday in Cincinnati, he became the first Cubs player in the modern era to hit double-digit homers in each of his first six major-league seasons.

In his first All-Star season, Happ also has reached 30 doubles for the first time in his career. Last season was his first with 20.

Injury update

Right-hander Kyle Hendricks (strained right shoulder) is heading to Arizona to continue his rehab program. But his timeline to return — and whether he’ll make it back to a major-league mound this season — remains unclear.

‘‘My main thing is to get him back on the bump, throwing bullpens and seeing how he feels,’’ Ross said last week. ‘‘Let’s get him healthy.

‘‘I don’t think getting him back in games is a top priority for everyone. But if he is able to get to that space, I think that’s a win for everyone.’’

• Left-hander Wade Miley (strained left shoulder) is nearing a return from the 15-day injured list. He’s scheduled to make his fourth rehab start in less than three weeks Tuesday with Triple-A Iowa.

Brault rejoins team

Left-hander Steven Brault rejoined the Cubs after a pair of rehab outings with Iowa.

Brault has yet to be activated after landing on the COVID-related IL about two weeks ago.

The Latest
The shooting comes just over a week after a man was shot when he allegedly broke into another Chicago police facility on the West Side, grabbed unloaded guns from a table and aimed at officers.
You can see “Help Wanted” signs all over for companies big and small. Sanctuary city mayors should reach out to these industries and coordinate the possibility of filling these jobs with immigrants who are being treated as political pawns.
The Bears would like to see Fields give pass plays a little more time to develop, but that’s difficult when they’re allowing the second-most pressure in the NFL.
The guard is just one game shy of his 100th with the franchise.