Cubs expect LaHair to see action soon


Cubs expect LaHair to see action soon

Bryan LaHair looked at it this way: Hey, Im here. The Cubs first baseman could have been somewhere like Des Moines, Iowa, or Tacoma, Wash.

Those were two stops along the way for the 29-year-old LaHair, a 39th-round pick who had never before experienced Opening Day in the big leagues. If he was disappointed about sitting out with a nagging back issue, he hid it very well.

Ive been kind of preparing myself mentally over the last few days, LaHair said Thursday, just to be ready whenever Im ready. The most important thing is to not go backwards. Just keep going forward and keep getting better.

LaHair wasnt included in the flurry of moves the Cubs made for Opening Day: selecting the contracts of reliever Shawn Camp, infielder Blake DeWitt and Joe Mather; and optioning outfielder Tony Campana and pitcher Casey Coleman to Triple-A Iowa. The Tampa Bay Rays claimed left-hander John Gaub off waivers. Soon Rodrigo Lopez is expected to join the Cubs bullpen.

LaHair said the disabled list isnt an option, and he expects to be available this weekend against the Washington Nationals (Jeff Baker started in his absence). LaHair sat out the final four games in spring training with what was described as a bulging disc. He doesnt sound too concerned.

Ive been making huge gains each day, he said. Ill bet you 90 percent of the hitters in baseball have that.

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

LOS ANGELES – The Cubs drafted and developed Ian Happ with the idea of turning him into a Ben Zobrist-type player who would move quickly through the farm system and surface as a versatile big-league contributor and/or legitimate trade chip.

With Zobrist sidelined because of a sore left wrist, the Cubs got their first look at Happ playing second base in The Show during Saturday’s 5-0 loss at Dodger Stadium. That kind of depth – plugging in a 2015 first-round pick while a World Series MVP rests – should ultimately propel the Cubs over the course of a 162-game season.

Even as the Cubs stutter-step through a 25-23 start, there are enough choices for the best defensive second baseman on the team and a National League Championship Series co-MVP (Javier Baez) to sit on the bench.

“We know that the talent’s there,” Zobrist said. “It’s not like having any one or two guys out of the lineup is a big drop-off for us because of the talent that’s there. And we know that just because we have a lot of young players doesn’t mean that they’re not extremely capable of doing the job as well.”

Zobrist – who’s reached base in 23 straight games and emerged as a new leadoff option with Kyle Schwarber struggling – felt something on an awkward swing in the first inning of Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Dodgers. Zobrist played through it that night and called it a “day-to-day thing” that didn’t require an MRI.

[MORE: Is Joe Maddon turning Kyle Schwarber into a platoon player?

Facing Clayton Kershaw on Sunday after back-to-back shutouts will be a game-time decision.

“It’s tough,” Zobrist said. “We just haven’t strung together enough quality at-bats to score runs the last two games. It’s not just because of us. They’ve pitched well. Their pitchers are pretty hot right now. They’ve spotted up. They’ve gotten early strikes where they needed to and then gone to work pretty well on us.

“The task doesn’t get any easier tomorrow with Kershaw. We just got to keep trying to chip away.”

Preview: Cubs look to avoid getting swept by Dodgers today on CSN


Preview: Cubs look to avoid getting swept by Dodgers today on CSN

The Cubs take on the Los Angeles Dodgers today, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 2:30 p.m. Then catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Ryan Dempster. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jon Lester (3-2, 3.19 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.01 ERA)

Click here for more stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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