Cubs

CSN to showcase over six-straight hours of Cubs World Series Championship celebratory coverage beginning Friday morning at 6:30 a.m.

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CSN to showcase over six-straight hours of Cubs World Series Championship celebratory coverage beginning Friday morning at 6:30 a.m.

6:30 AM – Replay of CSN’s “Cubs Postseason Live” World Series Championship celebratory coverage from Wednesday night!

9:00 AM – LIVE “Celebration of the Century” coverage (presented by State Farm) of the Cubs World Series Championship Parade & Rally

6:00 PM – Replay of Wednesday night’s Game 7 World Series championship-clinching win over Cleveland, which will also feature the post-game World Series Trophy presentation and much more!

Live World Series Championship Parade & Rally coverage to also be streamed on CSNChicago.com and also available via the NBC Sports app!

Viewers can get interactive throughout the celebration by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #FlyTheW

Chicago, IL (November 3, 2016) – CSN Chicago (CSN), the television home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of the 2016 WORLD SERIES CHAMPION CHICAGO CUBS, will be celebrating the team’s first title in 108 years with the entire city of Chicago tomorrow (Friday, November 4), as it will present OVER SIX-STRAIGHT HOURS of World Series championship-related programming.

Beginning at 6:30 AM CT, CSN’s “Celebration of the Century” coverage gets underway with a 2 ½-hour replay of Wednesday night’s epic post-game edition of Cubs Postseason Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois reliving the historic locker room, on-field, and city-wide celebrations once again in their entirety. 

Then, at 9:00 AM, CSN’s massive LIVE celebratory coverage begins with the network’s presentation of the Chicago Cubs World Series Championship Parade & Rally presented by State Farm featuring blowout coverage of the multi-bus parade originating from Wrigley Field, which will then head south throughout the streets of Chicago, and then off to the rally’s central location at Hutchinson Field in downtown Chicago’s Grant Park.  IMPORTANT NOTE: CSN’s live parade/rally coverage will also be available via live stream on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports app.  Please note CSN’s coverage line-up below:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4 on CSN – 2016 CHICAGO CUBS WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP “CELEBRATION OF THE CENTURY” COVERAGE!

6:30 AM – Cubs Postseason Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois – Encore edition of CSN’s extensive, acclaimed post-game show that followed Wednesday night’s historic Game 7 World Series title clinching moment. Hosted by David Kaplan, Todd Hollandsworth, Ryne Sandberg, along with locker room/on-field reports via Kelly Crull and Luke Stuckmeyer, highlights include numerous celebratory interviews with Cubs players, manager Joe Maddon, President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, and, of course, the legendary film comedian/native Chicagoan/lifelong Cub fan Bill Murray.   

9:00 AM (LIVE) – CHICAGO CUBS WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP PARADE & RALLY presented by State Farm – CSN’s LIVE 2016 Cubs World Series Championship Parade & Rally coverage will be hosted by David Kaplan (@thekapman), Todd Hollandsworth (@hollytime28), along with a number of special guests from the rally’s central location at Hutchinson Field in downtown Chicago’s Grant Park.  In addition, Pat Boyle (@CSNBoyle) and Mark Schanowski (@MarkSchanowski) will be reporting from the bus departure location at Wrigley Field, Cubs beat reporter Kelly Crull (@Kelly_Crull) will be aboard one of the open air player busses providing her up-close perspective during the parade – plus, Chris Boden (@CSNBoden), Luke Stuckmeyer (@LukeStuckmeyer), Leila Rahimi (@leilarahimi), and Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) will be providing additional reports at various locations along the parade route.  CSN’s coverage will also include aerial shots throughout the event, along with lighthearted interviews with many of the rabid fans that will be attending the day’s festivities.  IMPORTANT NOTES: CSN'’s World Series Parade & Rally coverage will also be streamed live on CSNChicago.com and will be made available for viewing via the NBC Sports app…CSN will also replay its parade/rally coverage at 7:00 PM.

6:00 PM – 2016 World Series, Game 7: Cubs at Indians – Replay of Wednesday night’s historic “MLB on FOX” World Series Game 7 championship-clinching win (to run from 6:00 to 10:00 PM with limited interruptions). Coverage to also include the presentation of the World Series Trophy, along with the World Series MVP trophy honor to Ben Zobrist.

CSNChicago.com’s Cubs “Insider” Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) will also provide numerous parade/rally reports throughout the day and CSNChicago.com’s digital production team will have even more coverage of this historic day in Chicago sports history with numerous photo, videos and first-hand anecdotes via Twitter @CSNCubs. In addition, fans are urged to follow @CSNChicago on Instagram & Snapchat for enhanced, exclusive content featuring real-time sights and sounds from the parade & rally.  Fans can also get interactive with CSN’s Cubs World Series parade/rally coverage throughout the morning and afternoon by utilizing the social media hashtag #FlyTheW.

In addition to live streaming the entire World Series Championship parade/rally, CSNChicago.com’s “CubsTalk” section (csnchicago.com/cubs) will be a one-stop destination for all World Series parade/rally-related activities featuring highlight videos, articles, and photo galleries from the big event.  This special digital section already includes numerous CSN exclusive interviews, celebratory fan reactions, along with a look back at the team’s amazing World Series journey with detailed game recaps provided by Mooney.

How close is Ian Happ to rejoining the Cubs?

How close is Ian Happ to rejoining the Cubs?

Is Ian Happ nearing a return to Chicago?

In a surprise move at the end of spring training, the Cubs sent the 24-year-old switch-hitter down to the minor leagues to work on his swing and try to cut down on strikeouts.

Happ's numbers in Iowa don't jump off the page at you (.240/.362/.422), but it looks like he may be turning a corner of late. He homered Monday night then went 4-for-4 with another homer, 2 doubles and 5 RBI in the second game of a doubleheader Wednesday.

That's obviously a very small sample size, however, and even including that, Happ is still struggling to make consistent contact. He has struck out 14 times in 25 at-bats over his last 8 games. 

His overall strikeout percentage on the season is 25.9 percent — a major improvement on the 36.1 percent mark he struggled through in the big leagues last year. But Happ had never struck out more than 23.6 percent of the time in a season coming up through the minor leagues, so that number is still higher than the Cubs would like to see.

"If [the mini hot streak] were sustained, you'd have to really start listening," Joe Maddon said. "I'm following him via video, watching the at-bats. I'm doing that almost daily with him. I know prior to that, he had still had some problems with strikeouts. 

"And then hit a home run the other day and that seems like that's led to this other home run. That would be primarily a call on the front office and the minor-league part [on when to call him up], but I will watch the video. The home run I saw, I liked. I thought he had much better balance on the entire swing."

Obviously the Cubs aren't going to overreact to a couple games and deem Happ ready to return to the big leagues based off a handful of at-bats.

But there's also a solid case to be made that he could help the club in Chicago right now.

Despite a hot start to the season, the Cubs' role players have really fallen off the last few weeks and much of the offensive damage has come from the big boppers (Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, Willson Contreras) recently.

There's no indication Ben Zobrist is coming back anytime soon, as Maddon said Thursday morning he hasn't spoken to the veteran in a couple days. 

David Bote and Jason Heyward have looked better this week, but they were struggling for the first couple weeks of May. 

Daniel Descalso has really been scuffling, hitting .097 with only 1 extra-base hit in May and his defense at second base has been below average.

Then there's Mark Zagunis, who isn't doing much of anything for the Cubs — literally. He hasn't started a game since April 26 and hasn't seen even one inning in the outfield since then, either, serving exclusively as a pinch-hitter for the last month.

So if the Cubs decide soon that Happ is ready to return to the big leagues, they have a simple decision on the roster spot and right now, there might be an avenue to a decent amount of playing time either at second base or the outfield.

Happ may not be the best or most experienced defender at second base, but he's seen some time there in the minors this season (59.2 innings) and he can also play either of the corner infield spots and all three outfield positions.

But would it be prudent for the Cubs to call up Happ if they don't even have room for him to play every day? That could throw a wrench in his development, which is clearly something the organization has been committed to.

Albert Almora Jr. is still easily the best centerfielder on the roster and has been great offensively for the last month, so it's not like he's done anything to deserve falling back into a platoon with Happ in center like they shared for much of 2018.

"It's hard. You would want to [call him up only if there's ample time to play him]," Maddon said. "But if you could morph him in and there's a platoon that's worthwhile, you could do that, also.

"But part of him being [in the minors] right now on a consistent basis is to get these kind of at-bats to get this all worked out and you would not want to lose that, either. But when he were to come back, being that he could hit left-handed obviously permits us to do other things."

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Cubs taking care to make sure Pedro Strop's hamstring issues are behind him

Cubs taking care to make sure Pedro Strop's hamstring issues are behind him

Pedro Strop said he feels "ready" in his return from a hamstring injury, but he and the Cubs aren't going to rush it.

The veteran reliever has missed most of May with the injury, but threw 25-pitch bullpens on both Monday and Wednesday and has reported zero issues. He said it's been more than a week since he last felt pain in the area.

But considering this is Strop's third hamstring injury in the last eight months, the Cubs want to be extra cautious to make sure this will not happen again.

Plus, there's no point in rushing him back right now, even with the bullpen struggling. The Cubs would certainly welcome Strop back to the active roster immediately, but he's going to be a huge key for them down the stretch and they need to ensure he's healthy for that.

"I think we're just being overly cautious because we don't want this to happen again," Joe Maddon said. 

But how can Cubs avoid another hamstring injury with the soon-to-be-34-year-old? 

"We're building strength, we're working hard to make it stronger instead of just, 'Oh, it's OK and pain-free, let's go out there and have the same thing happen again,'" Strop said. "We're just taking care."

He missed the final two weeks of the regular season last year and pitched through "severe pain" in the National League wild-card game after first hurting his hamstring in Washington D.C. He then missed time in spring training with an issue in the other leg.

The injuries are not all directly related, but hamstrings are tricky by nature.

"That's a hammy, man. When you mess up with those things, they keep reminding you that they're there," Maddon said. "He has to continue to be proactive with the work in between and our guys in the back there do a wonderful job rehabbing and strengthening. 

"I think some guys are just predetermined to do those kinds of things and it really stinks. But it happens. So our next best thing is to create that program that hopefully prevents it from happening again. 

"In the meantime, just really monitoring him and not pushing him too hard, etc. But hamstrings are hamstrings, man. They're just no fun. Once you pull them once, there's a chance to do it again."

Strop said he will throw another bullpen Saturday and doesn't believe he needs a rehab stint. Because this was a leg injury, he's been able to continue throwing throughout the recovery process and keep his arm strength up.

If Strop continues to report well and doesn't go on a rehab assignment, we could possibly see him back in the Cubs bullpen early next week, which would be a welcome sign for a unit that has suddenly run into some tough sledding of late.

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