Cubs call up top prospect Ian Happ, who homers for first big league hit



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ST. LOUIS — With several position players ailing, the called up 2015 first-round pick Ian Happ from Triple-A Iowa on Saturday and inserted him into the starting lineup against the .

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Happ, 22, wasted no time making his presence felt, delivering a two-run homer in the seventh inning for his first major league hit. According to ESPN Stats & Information, he is the fifth Cubs player in the past 25 seasons to homer in his big league debut, joining , , and .

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Happ, who played right field and batted second on Saturday, has impressed since appearing in his first big league spring training camp in February. He hit .383 with five home runs in the Cactus League and carried that over to the start of his Triple-A season. He was hitting .298 with 9 home runs and 25 RBIs before getting called up.

Game Nathan Karns Jersey Happ had missed time recently with a bone bruise on his left thumb but came back hot.

Kids Nathan Karns Jersey “It’s good to be healthy,” he said. “Good to come back feeling strong. I’ve been locked in for the last few days. It’s been good.”

Happ likely will be needed for only a few days, but manager Joe Maddon wouldn’t commit to a timeline, as he has several players banged up because of various ailments. Reigning NL MVP was a late scratch Friday due to a stomach ailment and was also out of the lineup Saturday. (back) and (shoulder) are available only for pinch-hitting duties.

“How long is he [Happ] going to stay?” Maddon said. “I have no idea. It could be short; it could be longer than that. I don’t know.”

The call-up of Happ means the Cubs are employing their No. 1 picks from 2011-15. Their starting lineup Saturday included five players with less than a year of experience each. Maddon said he isn’t concerned because they’re all talented, including the switch-hitting Happ.

“Go out there, have fun and compete,” Maddon told his newest player.

Happ, meanwhile, was trying to slow things down for his major league debut.

“Take it in and enjoy it,” he said pregame. “This is one of those situations where you might wake up tomorrow and not remember what happened.”

ESPN.com’s Keith Law had Happ ranked as the 63rd-best prospect in baseball entering the season.

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