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Video: Ian Happ hits his first major league home run

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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.

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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.

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

Report: 11 umpires have opted out of the 2020 season

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Jon Heyman reports that 11 MLB umpires have opted out of the 2020 season or have otherwise declined to participate. He says “some are said to have family members who are ill.” The umpires’ identities are not yet known.

Umpires, like players, have the right to opt-out with full pay if they are in a high risk group due to preexisting health conditions. Umpires can, obviously, be older as well, so age factors into it for some as well. Also like players, umpires who are themselves not high risk can opt-out if they have concern for the health of family members, though they will forego paychecks.

Recently, one umpire who is high risk — Joe West — made headlines for not only choosing not to opt-out but for also giving voice to COVID-19 denialism, questioning official statistics about infections and deaths.

The latest on West: