His stay was brief, but 2015 Cubs first round pick Ian Happ is hoping it won't be too long before he's manning one of the outfield spots at Wrigley Field.
"That’s the goal," Happ said. "To be here as soon as possible and help this team. That's why we're all down in the minor leagues doing what we're doing."
Happ, the ninth overall selection in June's draft after a standout collegiate career at the University of Cincinnati, took batting practice ahead of Friday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Happ was in attendance at Wrigley before he makes the 100-mile trek to join the Cubs' low-A affiliate in South Bend, Ind.
"It was just a lot of fun," Happ said. “It was crazy getting here with the family. It was a great experience. It's extremely exciting to be a part of something so up and coming, so new. It's exciting for sure."
Happ was promoted on Thursday after a quick stay with the Cubs' Class-A short-season affiliate in Eugene, Ore., in which he had a .283/.408/.491 slash line with four homers, 11 RBI and nine stolen bases in 29 games.
“We tried to hang onto him as long as possible,” Eugene manager Gary Van Tol said via the Register Guard of Happ's promotion. “You knew each day it was getting closer and closer for him to get called up.”
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The 20-year-old Happ hopes to follow in the footsteps of two of the cornerstones of the Cubs foundation that he met on Friday. He was introduced to both Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant, who each saw minimal time in the minor leagues before being fast-tracked to the big league club.
"I got a chance to meet all the guys and hang out with Schwarber a little bit," Happ said. "It's just a great experience and so much fun. The big club is doing so great. All the young guys coming up. You see Schwarber doing what he's doing. It's impressive."