Kyle Hendricks is nearing a return — what that means for him and Cubs
After a tough 1-6 road trip, David Ross and the Cubs thought they had found their good luck charm: righty Kyle Hendricks.
“I told him he’s not leaving as long as we’re winning,” Ross said with a laugh. “We’re gonna keep him here.”
Hendricks was in town Friday and Saturday as he continued his rehab from a capsular tear in his right shoulder. He threw a bullpen session on Saturday at Wrigley Field with pitching coach Tommy Hottovy and others from the Cubs’ pitching department in attendance.
“Coming in here already, getting two days with Tommy and the rest of the guys, gotten some really good stuff and it’s better already,” Hendricks said. “So, I’m able to take this stuff with me [and] go throw a few more games.”
The next step for Hendricks will be another rehab start — this one on Tuesday with the Iowa Cubs. It will be his third rehab appearance — all with Iowa — and he is hoping to throw around 75 pitches in that outing.
“As far as the shoulder feeling great, now I know I can bump my volume up, start getting back to who I was and really attack this and I’m so close that, like I said, we’ll take it one day at a time,” Hendricks said. “But it’s gonna happen really quick now.”
The Cubs rotation is finally getting fully healthy — Jameson Taillon was activated off the injured list earlier this week and the starters are pitching to an NL-best 3.20 ERA this season.
So, where does he fit in the rotation when he’s ready to be activated?
“I think there’s always a spot for Kyle Hendricks,” Drew Smyly said. “If he’s healthy and he’s right, he’s gonna fit in just fine.”
After all, things can change in a hurry. When Taillon suffered his left groin strain, it kind of came as a surprise. On the day of his scheduled start, April 20, he was a game day scratch, with Javier Assad taking his spot in the rotation on a spot start.
“It’s like the depth stuff we know we’re gonna need,” Ross said. “We’ve seen it already play out where it’s just his impact is gonna be great.”
So, while Hendricks seemingly has no open rotation spot at that moment a lot can change in a short period of time.
“But we wanna get him back to being the best version of himself,” Ross said. “When he gets back and is the version of him that we all expect, that’s a really good situation for us.”