Cubs News

The ripple effects of Kyle Hendricks’ return to Cubs’ roster

11 months agoAndy Martinez

Kyle Hendricks is back — and that means ripple effects up and down the Cubs’ roster, not just in the starting rotation.

Hendricks was activated off the 15-day IL Thursday as he made his first start in nearly 11 months after suffering a capsular tear in his shoulder. To make room on the 26-man roster, the Cubs optioned Nick Madrigal to Triple-A.

In Madrigal’s case, the Cubs chose to send him down to play regularly and settle into a groove. Madrigal started the season strong — in April, he hit .289, in line with his career average (.283). But in May, he has hit just .208 with a .469 OPS and has seen his playing time reduced. He started the opener in Philadelphia, came in as a substitute in the next two games and had yet to appear in a game in the Mets series before his option.

The competition at third base became competitive, too.

Patrick Wisdom was the starter on Opening Day and had made 31 starts at the hot corner so far. The team had recalled Edwin Ríos and Miles Mastrobuoni in recent days, too and Mastrobuoni started Wednesday at third base.

“Just try to get him back on track, really,” manager David Ross said of Madrigal. “We’ve got a lot of guys competing for playing time over there at third base, and just not a lot of room for that skill set right now and just trying to get him back to being able to just find his timing and put consistently good swings on the baseball.”

The roster implications extend to the rotation, but beyond just the obvious hole the team was missing as it operated with 4 starters for the last week or so. When they decided to operate with a 4-man rotation to add an extra arm in their bullpen, the Cubs sent down Hayden Wesneski to Iowa as he had struggled in the majors (5.03 ERA/1.322 WHIP). With Hendricks in the rotation, Wesneski can work on his improvements at Iowa without the concern of having to rush back to the majors or trying to accelerate his processes.

In turn, Javier Assad (who was recalled earlier in the week) gives the Cubs a length option in the bullpen, someone who can cover multiple innings. They missed that after optioning Keegan Thompson to the minors last week amid his early season struggles.

The Cubs have preached depth all season and even during the offseason — having multiple options across the diamond, allows them to play the hot hand and gives players like Madrigal, Wesneski or Assad time to fine-tune things so that when they’re called on, they can deliver.

“It gives [Wesneski and Assad] the ability to go to do those things at a lower intensity environment in terms of working on stuff in Triple-A,” pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. “It just continues to lengthen the group of guys; what you can to do and continue to try to put them in the best chance to be successful.”

Don’t Miss Out On The Action!

Sign up for the Marquee Sports Network Newsletter today for all the latest Cubs news, plus upcoming Marquee programming and much more!

Newsletter Signup
Consent *
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.