Cubs' Ian Happ makes his lasting mark on Camden Yards, joins select group in 'cool tradition'

Notes: Manager Craig Counsell gave updates on Kyle Hendricks and Mike Tauchman.

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Chicago Cubs' Ian Happ watches his three-run home run against the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Baltimore.

Cubs outfielder Ian Happ watches his three-run home run during the fourth inning against the Orioles on Tuesday in Baltimore.

Nick Wass/AP

BALTIMORE — On Eutaw Street, situated between circular plaques commemorating home runs by the Yankees’ Curtis Granderson in 2012 and the Orioles’ Luke Scott in 2011, there’s a quadrisected circle drawn on the pavement labeled with “IH” and “CHC.”

It serves as a placeholder, showing the landing spot of the three-run home run that the Cubs’ Ian Happ hit Tuesday out of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, until the team can mark it in bronze. Happ was the fifth player to homer onto Eutaw Street this season and the second visiting player.

Of the 127 homers to Eutaw Street, beyond the right-field stands, only two have come from Cubs. Happ joins Jason Heyward, who hit his Eutaw Street homer on July 14, 2017.

“That’s a pretty cool tradition in baseball, and to be a part of that small group is really special,” Happ said after the Cubs’ 9-2 victory Tuesday.

In the last seven weeks, Happ has the second-most RBI in the majors (41), behind only the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (51).

“This recent stretch, he’s been a big part of our offense,” manager Craig Counsell said. “And the big swings and the big offensive moments in the game for us have really been delivered by Ian.”

Happ has been on a hot streak in the last month, batting .306 with a 1.109 OPS from June 9 through July 9.

“We know that he goes on these streaks, and he has the ability to go on a prolonged really, really good run,” hitting coach Dustin Kelly said. “And we’re seeing that right now. He’s hammering all parts of the zone. He’s taking his hits to left field when he has them, but he has the ability to drive balls into the seats to the pull side and center field. He’s a guy that is fun to watch right now.”

‘Big day’ for Tauchman

Outfielder Mike Tauchman (strained left groin) had what Counsell called a “big day” in his rehab. Tauchman hit on the field and took fly balls in center field during early batting practice.

His next step will be to go to Arizona to take live batting practice at the Cubs’ spring-training complex and play rehab games during the All-Star break. If he progresses through each phase without a hitch, he could return right after the break.

“Every day would have to be a good day to do that,” Counsell cautioned. “It’s a possibility.”

Other injury updates

Right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who left his last start with back tightness, felt good in his bullpen session Wednesday, Counsell said. Hendricks is penciled in to start Friday in St. Louis.

Center fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong returned to the lineup Wednesday in his first start since gashing his left thumb last week when he was spiked while stealing third base. He entered the game Tuesday as a pinch runner and defensive replacement.

“I was looking forward to getting back in there, for sure,” Crow-Armstrong said. “I don’t think I expected to ever be out with a thumb cut, but we did some good, quick healing in there and got me right.”

In his first at-bat since getting four stitches on his thumb, he hit a line drive single.

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