The Cubs announced a series of roster moves Friday, most notably designating lefty Kyle Ryan for assignment and placing center fielder Ian Happ on the 10-day injured list due to a rib contusion stemming from his recent collision with infielder Nico Hoerner. To take their spots on the roster, the Cubs recalled righty Jason Adam and selected the contract of outfielder Nick Martini from Triple-A Iowa.
Ryan, 29, has been the Cubs’ most oft-used reliever since 2019, although he opened the 2021 season at the team’s alternate training site. He was called back up recently and yielded a run on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings. Since latching on with the Cubs in 2019, the former Tigers southpaw carries a 3.86 ERA, a 20.8 percent strikeout rate, a 10.9 percent walk rate and a hefty 55.7 percent ground-ball rate. He hasn’t dominated lefties in a way that so many southpaw relievers do (.240/.319/.368) but he also hasn’t been a total liability against righties either (.264/.347/.408).
Happ and Hoerner had a scary collision when the two converged on a pop fly to shallow center field. Hoerner made the catch but tumbled over Happ and kicked him squarely in the ribs in the process. Thankfully, both avoided a major injury, but Happ now joins Hoerner (forearm strain) on the 10-day injured list in the days since the collision. Perhaps the downtime will give the struggling Happ some time to reset; in 102 plate appearances this year he’s limped to a .167/.307/.250 batting line.
The 30-year-old Martini will be making his Cubs debut whenever he first gets into a game. The former Padres and A’s outfielder inked a minor league deal with Chicago over the winter. He’s capable of playing all three outfield spots and is known for a patient approach at the plate, evidenced by a career .269/.372/.380 batting line in 87 MLB games (288 plate appearances). Martini isn’t teeming with power, but he has an excellent track record in the upper minors, specifically Triple-A: .305/.401/.435 in more than 1400 plate appearances.