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Cubs' Happ to start season at Triple-A Iowa

Mar 7, 2019; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Ian Happ (8) hits a single against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs will option outfielder Ian Happ to Triple-A Iowa, meaning he won't start the season on the big-league roster.

Happ, 24, was unhappy with the decision, according to manager Joe Maddon.

"He's not happy and he shouldn't be happy," Maddon said at soring training on Saturday.

"I really don't blame him. The guy has really performed very well for us at different periods of time on the major-league level. He is so ingrained in the culture within the building and within the clubhouse. Great teammate. A lot of the veterans have accepted him very readily, which doesn't happen often with young players."

At Iowa, Happ is expected to get time in centerfield, second base and third base. The Cubs also are hoping he'll get more comfortable batting from the left side of the plate.

"We just want to make sure that he gets down there and really gets a lot of consistent at-bats, especially from the left side," Maddon said. "Obviously, we consider him a huge part of our future, but just based on the conclusion of last year and what we're seeing at this point this year, we think it's really important."

In 2018, Happ batted .233 with 15 home runs and 56 runs scored in 387 at-bats.

A first-round pick by the Cubs in 2015, Happ has 39 home runs and a .242 batting average in 751 career at-bats.

--Field Level Media