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The Chicago Cubs have promoted first baseman Matt Mervis to the majors ahead of their game on Tuesday night against the Houston Astros, the team announced Tuesday. In a flurry of corresponding moves, the Cubs also placed pitchers Kyle Hendricks (lower back) and Drew Smyly (hip impingement) on the IL, recalled RHP Hayden Wesneski and LHP Luke Little and designated Garrett Cooper for assignment.

Mervis, 26, made his big-league debut last season. He struggled over 27 games, batting .167/.242/.289 (43 OPS+) with three home runs in 99 plate appearances. Mervis has since rebounded. In 18 Triple-A games this season, he's hit .288/.402/.606 with five home runs and six doubles. Mervis had made a lot of loud contact, with more than 60% of his batted balls clearing the 95 mph threshold on the young season.

Cooper, 33, had performed fine in limited duty. He'd hit .270/.341/.432 (115 OPS+) with a home run and two additional extra-base hits in 41 plate appearances while splitting time between first base and designated hitter. The Cubs signed Cooper to a one-year pact worth $1.75 million over the offseason.

Cooper may well draw interest from the Boston Red Sox over the coming weeks, according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive. The Red Sox were linked to Cooper during the winter.

It's to be seen how, exactly, the Cubs divvy up first-base responsibilities between Mervis and fellow rookie Michael Busch. Both are left-handed batters, with Mervis taking the place of the right-handed Cooper. (The Cubs also have Mike Tauchman in the outfield who they often platoon against lefty pitchers.)

The Cubs enter Tuesday with a 13-9 record on the year, putting them in second place in the National League Central. Chicago trails the Milwaukee Brewers by 1 1/2 games, although it's far too early to worry about such things.