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.