It’s been a while since the last update on the Cubs’ Ian Happ, who has yet to appear in a Major League game this season after he was optioned to Triple-A out of spring training. The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma, though, offers some insight into Happ’s mindset and process as he works towards rejoining the Cubs. Happ, 24, was a productive big-leaguer in his first two seasons with the Cubs, but was plagued by strikeouts and inconsistency, neither of which is an uncommon issue for a young player. During his time in Triple-A, Happ has focused on refining his approach and retooling his swing with an eye on contributing to a contending Cubs team in the second half. After striking out in 33.8% of his first 875 plate appearances, Happ has that number down to 27.3% in the minors this year, while increasing his ground ball rate as a result of a flattened swing designed to better cover elevated pitches. With Daniel Descalso and Addison Russell getting the majority of the second base reps and Albert Almora Jr. in center field, there looks to be an avenue for Happ to help to the Cubs in the near future, but it appears that the Cubs are content with a patient approach to Happ’s situation.
Here’s the latest on a handful of National League clubs…
- Good news for Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, who recently landed on the IL with a thumb injury that was said to keep Story out for “multiple weeks.” Per the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders, however, Story is progressing faster than anticipated and could indeed return to the Rockies after the allotted 10 days on the injured list. That would put Story on track to rejoin his team on June 29, which is certainly a welcome turn of events in Colorado. Surely, that’s no guarantee and the Rockies won’t rush their star back, but it’s sure to inspire more optimism than the original timeline.
- The Braves’ bullpen will get a boost this week, with left-hander Sean Newcomb expected to return from the injured list ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Cubs, according to Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He showed promising signs in his most recent rehab outing and should be ready to pitch for the first time since taking a J.T. Realmuto liner to the neck last weekend. Though Mike Foltynewicz was demoted, thus leaving a void in the Braves’ starting rotation, that won’t be filled by Newcomb, who will remain in a relief role for the foreseeable future.
- Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli could rejoin the team as early as next weekend, tweets Adam Berry of MLB.com. The 33-year-old catcher, who has been on the injured list since May 25 after suffering a concussion, could start a rehab assignment in the next few days and return to action for the Bucs shortly thereafter. Certainly, the Pirates have kept their heads above water with a catching tandem of Elias Diaz and Jacob Stallings, both of whom have thus far outperformed Cervelli, who struggled in the season’s opening months.