Ross plans to stick with Happ in CF
Ian Happ has played his way into being the Cubs' regular center fielder, manager David Ross said.
Happ leads the Cubs' regulars in both slugging percentage and OPS (Jason Kipnis is the overall leader) and fared well at the plate in Saturday's simulated game at Wrigley Field.
"He's the real deal in my opinion," Ross said in a Zoom call with reporters. "Right now, it's hard to take Ian Happ out of the lineup. This guy's swinging the bat really well.
"His right-handed at bats have gotten tremendously better for me. He's been a staple. Three knocks (hits) today, one off a lefty, two doubles in the gap."
Happ was the No. 9 overall draft pick in 2015. While he's been a switch-hitter since he was young, he's starting to have success from both sides of the plate. This season, he's batting .300 from the right side and .296 from the left.
Happ is a natural right-handed hitter, but gets far more at bats as a lefty since he sees more right-handed pitchers in the majors.
"It's just repetition," Happ said Saturday. "I've had 200, 300 at bats from the right side in the big leagues (249, actually). It takes time. It takes time to see guys, it takes times to make better decisions and understand what you can handle, what you can't handle, where you are in the lineup, how to get on base."
Cubs trust process:
Ian Happ also took over from Kris Bryant as the Cubs' player rep this season, which has kept him busy.
Happ said there was no hesitation among the Cubs to play in St. Louis this weekend, up until the series was canceled due to three more positive tests for COVID-19 by the Cardinals.
"We talked about it as a team and we trusted the process of the league that the testing they were doing would pick up any positives," Happ said. "Obviously, the testing protocols worked. They did a great job of picking everything up.
"We didn't have to take a vote. The consensus was we were ready to go play. We know the league has learned a lot from what happened with Miami and now they're continue to learn with what's happening with St. Louis and we trust that they're going to do the right thing."
Happ said he's heard no discussions of ending the Cardinals season, since they'll likely have 13 games to make up by the end of the week.
"I don't think the league's entertaining it, I don't think the Cardinals are entertaining it," he said. "Right now you're looking at how many games can they get in.
"I think if we get in a situation where this happens on Sept. 15 or Sept. 20, that's where were looking at, 'How do we make this work?' But right now we still have plenty of time."
The Cubs announced their revised pitching rotation. Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks will take the mound for the two games in Cleveland, followed by Yu Darvish on Thursday against Milwaukee, then Tyler Chatwood and Alec Mills. Mills is skipping a turn in the rotation, but threw in Saturday's simulated game. ...
Struggling reliever Craig Kimbrel threw an inning in Saturday's simulated game and recorded 2 strikeouts. ... The Cubs released former Reds utility player Derek Dietrich so he could pursue another major league opportunity.
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