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Drop the mic: Tommy La Stella slugging his way to more playing time

La Stella hits the first of two homers Saturday.

PHILADELPHIA — Infielder Tommy La Stella found the dusty, decades-old microphone in the corner of an old cinder-block room in the bowels of Wrigley Field during the Cubs’ last homestand.

He and teammate Ian Happ have made it a regular — and noticeable — part of games ever since, conducting post-home-run ‘‘interviews’’ in the dugout.

‘‘We play 162 times a year,’’ La Stella said. ‘‘You’ve got to mix it up a little bit sometimes.’’

‘‘I love it,’’ manager Joe Maddon said.

About the only thing more noticeable during Cubs games in that span has been La Stella himself. He has started only 16 games this season, but he has been in the lineup for three of the last five. In those games, he has hit three of his five homers and has gone 6-for-11 with seven RBI.

He has been impressive enough that Maddon had him batting fifth Sunday against the Phillies.

Ian Happ “interviews” Ben Zobrist after a home run Saturday as Javy Baez joins in.

‘‘Tommy doing what he’s doing more recently, I felt compelled to put him back out there,’’ Maddon said.

Must be the microphone.

‘‘Obviously, it’s not going to go like this all the time,’’ La Stella said after hitting two homers in the Cubs’ 17-2 victory Saturday. ‘‘It’s rare when you feel that comfortable at the plate.

‘‘You enjoy it while you can because you know it’s finite; it’s not going to last forever. . . . But I feel good up there right now. Hopefully I can keep it going.’’

La Stella’s extra on-field workload lately has meant Happ has been in charge of more of the dugout interviews. But anybody’s welcome to take a turn, La Stella said.

‘‘It’s open mic,’’ he said.

La Stella’s 2-for-3 game Sunday raised his average to .322 in 87 at-bats, and his .994 OPS leads all Cubs with at least 100 plate appearances.

Getting their Phil of Hoskins

The Cubs got a better look than they wanted this weekend at record-setting Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins.

Hoskins homer Sunday against reliever Koji Uehara was his 11th in 18 career games. He already held the major-league record for most homers in the first 20 games of a career.

Hoskins homered in each game against the Cubs to extend his streak of games with a homer to five, tying a Phillies record.

‘‘Thank God it’s the last day we see him,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘He’s all over everything right now. The thing that stands out to me is his walks [11] to strikeouts [13]. That’s why I think he’s going to continue to be dangerous.’’

Follow me on Twitter @GDubCub.



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