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Cubs option Ian Happ to Triple-A

In a shocking move, the Cubs sent the former top prospect back to Iowa for the start of the season, at least.

MLB: Chicago Cubs-Workouts Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

This is a surprise.

The Cubs today announced that Ian Happ will start the season at Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs said that they wanted Happ to get more playing time to work on making more consistent contact at the plate. The move means that Albert Almora Jr. is likely to play every day in center field, at least to start the season.

It also opens a spot for outfielder Mark Zagunis or infielder Cristhian Adames to make the Opening Day roster. Zagunis is on the 40-man roster and Adames isn’t. However, Zagunis still has options and Adames doesn’t.

Happ had a relatively successful sophomore season in 2018, hitting .233/.353/.408 with 15 home runs in 142 games. However, he did struggle to hit .202/.291/.317 with just three home runs in 117 plate appearances against left-handers. He also struck out a lot.

Additionally, Happ has struggled to hit this spring, going just .135/.196/.192 in 56 plate appearances.

Happ is reportedly very unhappy about the move.

Ths Cubs also announced that pitcher Alec Mills has been sent down to Iowa and reliever Junichi Tazawa has been released.