With his season over, Kyle Hendricks is excited to be part of ‘winning’ in 2023
Kyle Hendricks wants to keep pitching for as long as he can.
Ideally, he’d like to keep doing it with the Cubs, too.
That’s why he’s taking the rest of the season to rehab from a capsular tear in his shoulder with the hopes of returning fully healthy in 2023 and being a viable part of the Cubs’ rotation.
“I need to produce and perform to be a part of this winning culture and this winning that’s gonna be coming,” Hendricks said before Monday’s game against the Cardinals. “I wanna be a part of that, so I’m focusing on myself to do as much as I can to put myself in that position.”
Hendricks will be heading to Arizona to continue his rehabilitation that is primarily “all active range of motion stuff.” The hope is Hendricks can begin to throw a baseball before the end of the season.
“We don’t know how far I’ll make it, out to 120 feet, maybe touch a mound,” Hendricks said. “We’ll have to determine that, see how I feel as we go, but definitely the goal is to get a ball in my hand and be throwing by the end of the season, know we’re fully healthy, have no concerns and attack the offseason.”
The injury really crept up on Hendricks in what turned out to be his final start of the season on July 5 against the Brewers. He allowed 2 runs on 2 hits in just 3 innings of work before leaving the game and being placed on the IL.
Hendricks had an MRI after that showed inflammation in the shoulder and the original plan was to begin to ramp it back up in 4 to 6 weeks. At Week 5, he “tried to pick up a ball,” but still felt some pain. There was another MRI that showed the capsular tear.
That’s when Hendricks and the Cubs decided to shut it down and prepare for next season.
“We just all decided it’d be best — there’s really not the time to make up, and not the time to get back,” Hendricks said. “Take advantage, not trying to push through it at all, just give it the time, fully get healthy, be able to attack a full offseason and a full offseason throwing program, so that’s kind of where my focus is now. So, very unfortunate, obviously. You just want to pitch. That’s it.
“I just want to pitch all year and be there for my guys every fifth day and be that consistent competitor. But things get in the way, things happen, so I just have to approach this now the same way.”
That’s why Hendricks is excited and wants to come back in 2023 at 100%. He wants to be out there at a high level for the team and he sees the wave of incoming young talent on the horizon.
“The whole system behind the pitching really has taken a 180 and is just super cool to watch, being the side that I’m on, to see these young guys come up and take full advantage,” Hendricks said. “I wanna pitch as long as I can. It’s really what I do. I love it. I don’t think I’m ever gonna stop loving it. That’s why it’s tough. All I wanna do is pitch.
“But with the long term in mind and especially seeing where we’re at this season, yeah I have to take a step back, see what’s best for myself. It’s gonna just be taking a little of time, getting fully healthy so I can pitch as many years as I have in [me].”