MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs have innings to offer at second base this season and Ian Happ wanted to make sure he did not get lost in the conversation. Over the offseason, Happ made it known to manager Joe Maddon that he wanted to be considered for that position as
MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs have innings to offer at second base this season and Ian Happ wanted to make sure he did not get lost in the conversation. Over the offseason, Happ made it known to manager Joe Maddon that he wanted to be considered for that position as the team mapped out its spring workout plans.
"Joe and I, we were in communication this offseason, which was good," Happ said on Tuesday morning. "We had some really good candid conversations, where I was able to say, 'Look, I would like to be considered for this. I'd like some time there,' because last Spring Training I played all center field and then you kind of get to the season and it's like, 'Well, now I have to be able to play them all.'
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"So, yeah, that was my goal this spring. Come in, play a bunch of different positions to really prepare myself for what I'm going to be doing the season."
Maddon plans on once again rotating the 24-year-old Happ through a number of spots on the diamond in an effort to keep him in the lineup. That will still include plenty of action in the outfield like last year, but first, second and third base are also in play, too. Last season, though, Happ only appeared in three innings at second, compared to 260 1/3 innings in 2017.
In April, the Cubs will not have shortstop Addison Russell, who will be finishing out a 40-game suspension for violating MLB's Domestic Violence Policy. That means Javier Báez will shift over to short from second, opening up some innings for a handful of players. Daniel Descalso will get playing time there, along with Ben Zobrist and potentially David Bote. Maddon will heed Happ's request and work him into the mix, too.
"He made it clear to me that he wants to be considered to play second," Maddon said. "He's looking to get in the lineup. He wants for me and us to know that he'll do whatever it takes to get in the lineup."
Darvish throws live BP
A large crowd of Cubs fans packed the team's complex and was rewarded with a show on Field 5 on Tuesday morning. That is where Yu Darvish (healthy after dealing with right elbow issues last year) threw 20-plus pitches in a live batting practice session against Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr. and Russell.
Darvish was hitting 93-94 mph with his fastball with ease as pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, Maddon and a gathering of staffers monitored the workout.
"He should've been [thrilled]," Maddon said. "He threw the ball really well, really well. I saw the latter part of it. Real free. Real free and letting it go. The ball had a real good finish, carry at the end of it, too. When I saw him good for so many years, I really thought he had low carry or finish at the end of his pitch. And then off that comes the breaking stuff. He looked good and I know he was very happy."
• Closer Brandon Morrow (right elbow surgery in November) is scheduled to build up to 105 feet while playing catch on Wednesday. The right-hander is hoping to then be cleared to resume a regular daily throwing program. Morrow noted that his throwing progression is close to a normal offseason schedule -- just pushed back by about a month.
• Zobrist has not arrived to camp yet for the Cubs, but Maddon said it was an "excused absence" for personal reasons. Maddon said Tuesday there was no established arrival day for Zobrist. The full squad reported to Arizona on Sunday.
Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.