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Video: Ian Happ hits his first major league home run


Cubs’ infield/outfield prospect Ian Happ made the most of his major league debut on Saturday. The 22-year-old went 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run blast off of the Cardinals’ Carlos Martinez, airmailing a first-pitch changeup over the right field bullpen in the seventh inning of the Cubs’ 5-3 loss.

Happ was called up from Triple-A Iowa on Friday night, though the club waited to make the move official by optioning right-hander Felix Pena to Triple-A on Saturday. His promotion could be short-lived, Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon told reporters, as the outfielder is currently needed to fill in the gaps left by injured infielder/outfielders Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Jon Jay. Still, Happ capitalized on the opportunity and looked every bit as major league-ready as the club had hoped during his first taste of big league action.

While his seventh-inning home run was the highlight of the afternoon, Happ’s first major league hit nearly came in the fifth inning on a ground ball up the first base line. Instead, Cardinals’ first baseman Matt Carpenter was charged with a fielding error after trying and failing to snare the ball. Things only got worse during Anthony Rizzo‘s at-bat, when Happ was thrown out at second base after sliding to break up a double play.

With the loss, the Cubs are still locked into third place in the NL Central and now sit at .500.

Chris Sale exits game with hip contusion

Chris Sale
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Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale made a hasty exit from his final Grapefruit League outing on Saturday after sustaining a left hip contusion. He was struck on the leg with a line drive from the Astros’ J.D. Davis in the first inning and immediately collapsed on the mound. He was able to walk off the field without a noticeable limp, however, and later told reporters that the ball struck a nerve and temporarily stunned his leg. As a precautionary move, the Red Sox pulled him after the incident and will have the left-hander undergo X-rays to rule out any further injury to his hip.

This was expected to be Sale’s last start of spring training. Prior to Saturday’s matinee against the Astros, the 28-year-old southpaw made three starts in camp, allowing five runs, one home run, three walks and striking out 18 batters in 14 innings. He’s still on track to start the season for the Red Sox during their road opener against the Rays next Thursday.