Ian Happ's time away from the field didn't slow him down, and on Monday night, Triple-A Iowa teammate Victor Caratini followed his lead.Happ, the Cubs' No. 2 prospect, homered, doubled and drove in a career-high five runs on his second day back from the disabled list as the I-Cubs fell
Ian Happ's time away from the field didn't slow him down, and on Monday night, Triple-A Iowa teammate Victor Caratini followed his lead.
Happ, the Cubs' No. 2 prospect, homered, doubled and drove in a career-high five runs on his second day back from the disabled list as the I-Cubs fell to the visiting Memphis Redbirds, 15-9. Twelfth-ranked Caratini added four hits, including a long ball and a double.
Happ went on the DL on May 2 -- retroactive to April 29 -- with a bruised left thumb, but jumped back into action Sunday with a single and RBI in two at-bats. On Monday, he struck first for Iowa in the bottom of the third inning. With two aboard, the 2015 first-round pick crushed his ninth homer of the year to left-center field. Despite his week away, Happ leads all active Pacific Coast League hitters in long balls.
"I feel good about it," he told the Des Moines Register on Sunday. "I think there was a week-and-a-half, two-week span where my swings weren't very good. But I had some time off and I feel good coming back."
Caratini followed suit in the third. The catcher went back-to-back with Happ by lofting a shot to right, his third of the year.
"[Caratini's] always been able to hit the ball to the opposite field and drive it," Iowa coach Desi Wilson told the newspaper after the loss. "Now, he's getting the head out and pulling the ball because of his work."
Happ got the start at second base for the Cubs, but moved to left in the eighth. The thumb doesn't seem to be causing any issues defensively or at the plate.
"It feels good," Happ told the Register. "I felt really comfortable up there."
Happ came through again in the sixth. With the bases loaded, MLB.com's No. 23 overall prospect clubbed a double to right that scored two. Caratini singled behind him to drive in two more. The Puerto Rico native, who also doubled in the second and singled in the fifth, notched his first four-hit night to boost his slash line to .337/.375/.510.
The I-Cubs led, 8-2, after six innings and, 9-7, after eight, but Memphis erupted in the ninth. Patrick Wisdom clubbed a grand slam, his second homer of the night, to highlight an eight-run Redbirds frame.
St. Louis' No. 2 prospect Carson Kelly went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and four RBIs. Kelly is riding a five-game hitting streak with multiple hits in four of those contests. The backstop is batting .391 over his last 10 games.
Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun.