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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.

Giants sign Darin Ruf to minor league contract

Darin Ruf
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The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.

Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.