The Chicago Cubs recalled prospect Ian Happ from the Triple-A Iowa Cubs and inserted him in Saturday's lineup as the starting right fielder against the National League Central rival St. Louis Cardinals.
Chicago has been using a makeshift outfield over the past week after Jason Heyward was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained finger.
Jon Jay slid over to right, while Albert Almora Jr. drew in to the lineup in center. The Cubs' depth suffered another setback Saturday, however, with ultra utility man Ben Zobrist forced out of the lineup with a back problem, per Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
Zobrist has filled in at both second and the corner outfield spots recently, which made Happ the obvious choice to fill the short-term void.
In April, Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register passed along comments from Happ about waiting for his chance to arrive.
"I want to go out and compete and I want to play hard and continue to get better and at some point, if I get the opportunity, I'll be ecstatic and take advantage of it," he said.
Happ carried a .298/.362/.615 triple-slash line with nine home runs in 26 Triple-A games this season prior to the promotion. He split the 2016 campaign between the Class-A Advanced and Double-A levels, hitting .279/.365/.445 with 15 homers and 16 stolen bases.
The 22-year-old Pittsburgh native should see consistent playing time until Heyward and Zobrist are cleared to return from their ailments. After that, he'll likely return to Iowa so he can start every day rather than seeing sporadic appearances off the bench in Chicago.
Happ should be ready to fight for a more prominent role with the big club in 2018.