Homer Sweet Homer for Cubs’ Ian Happ in Wrigley Field debut
Another day in the big leagues, another big hit for Ian Happ.
His opposite-field homer to left in the fifth inning Tuesday against the Reds was his second homer in three games in the majors. Happ, who started in center field, also walked while batting cleanup.
Happ homered and walked in his debut, and doubled and singled in his second game Sunday.
“When you call someone up you always have plans in pencil, nothing’s ever written in ink,” president Theo Epstein said of the No. 9 overall pick in the 2015 draft. “He’s feeling great at the plate right now. He tends to be streaky, so when he’s on a hot streak its really hot and it lasts a long time.”
Epstein says Happ might get an extended stay because of his ability to play all outfield positions and at least second base in the infield.
“We weren’t anticipating an extremely long-term stay, but we’re going to read and react based on how he plays,” Epstein said, “and what’s going on with the other guys with their health.”
Schwarber vote of confidence
Epstein seemed dismissive when asked about a possible demotion to the minors for struggling leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber, who entered Tuesday’s game with a .179 average, .313 on-base percentage and a team-high 44 strikeouts.
How long would a slump have to last to consider such a move for Schwarber?
“When we feel like that’s the right thing for him and the team, and when we think he’s not giving himself a chance out there,”
Epstein said. “And we don’t think he’s close to that at all.
“If you look at his at-bats lately, there’s still somewhere he’s missing heaters that he normally clobbers, but there was a ton of hard contact this weekend [in St. Louis]. And I think he’s really close.”
Right fielder Jason Heyward (jammed finger) took batting practice Tuesday, which put him on track for a possible return from the disabled list by Friday’s series opener against the Brewers.
“Needles are pointing in the proper direction,” Maddon said. “He’s feeling really good.”
Outfielder Jon Jay, who was pulled from a start Friday because of back spasms, was feeling better and available off the bench.
• Ben Zobrist, who has played through back pain much of the season, also was good enough to play, Maddon said, but “still not 100 percent. I just want to be very careful with him.”
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