Ian Happ offers ailing Cubs another level of versatility

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Happ offers ailing Cubs another level of versatility originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

With numerous Cubs position players going down with injuries recently, center fielder Ian Happ went to manager David Ross last week with an idea.

“‘Hey, if you need me, I can get back to the infield,’” Ross recalled Happ saying. “‘I'm willing to do whatever.’

“That’s the kind of player he is.”

Sure enough, Happ is back in the infield, starting at second base in Wednesday’s series finale with the Padres.

Happ has almost exclusively played the outfield since the start of last season and has made majority of his career starts there. But he’s no stranger to the infield, dating back to his college days.

At the big-league level, Happ has played 102 games across second base (59), third (32) and even first (11). Majority of his 60 career starts in the infield have come at second (37). He also played a good amount there during his Triple-A stint in 2019 (20 appearances, 14 starts).

Normally, the Cubs would have upwards of four second base options on their active roster. But they’re currently without three of those players, with Nico Hoerner, David Bote and Matt Duffy all on the injured list.

Eric Sogard has received the lion’s share of starts at second lately but has a scheduled day off Wednesday. Sergio Alcántara is another option for second but is starting at shortstop Wednesday as Javy Báez continues nursing a jammed thumb.

Happ isn’t the first Cub to move off his regular position for the betterment of the team this season. Kris Bryant hasn’t played third base since April 20, alternating between all three outfield spots and first base over that span.

Like Bryant in the outfield, Ross is comfortable with Happ in the infield.

“It’ll be probably a little foreign to him, but I know Happer,” Ross said. “He’ll go out there and give his best and give us a chance to win for sure.”

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