Veteran right-hander Kyle Hendricks has rejoined the Cubs in Chicago to work with the coaching staff midway through his current rehab assignment, as noted by Gordon Wittenmeyer at the Chicago Tribune. Hendricks struggled mightily in two rehab appearances at the Triple-A level last week, surrendering 10 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings of work. Despite those results, though, Hendricks has seen his velocity tick up as high as 90 mph. That marks a return to form for Hendricks, who had seen his fastball velocity decline in recent years, concluding with a fastball that sat 86-87 mph last season.
Entering the 2021 season, Hendricks was not just the most reliable starter in the Cubs rotation, but among the most reliable starters in all of baseball. From 2014 to 2020, only six pitchers with at least 1,000 innings pitched had a lower ERA than Hendricks’s 3.12 figure: Clayton Kershaw, Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, Zack Greinke, and Chris Sale. Despite that elite company, however, injuries and ineffectiveness have plagued Hendricks since the start of the 2021 season, as the soft-tossing right-hander posted a 4.78 ERA and 4.87 FIP in 265 1/3 innings over the past two campaigns with strikeout, walk, and groundball rates all worse than his career average.
Hendricks saw his 2022 season come to an end early as he underwent surgery to repair a capsular tear in his shoulder last July. He began the season on the injured list as the Cubs decided to take his recovery slowly, though he appears to be nearing a return, with Mark Gonzales noting the club plans for him to return to Triple-A Iowa for rehab starts on Tuesday and Sunday. Upon his return, Hendricks will factor into a rotation that currently sports Marcus Stroman, Justin Steele, Drew Smyly, Jameson Taillon, and Hayden Wesneski.
Also noted by Gonzales is that catcher Yan Gomes has resumed baseball activities. Gomes was placed on the 7-day concussion IL, who was hit in the head by a backswing last week, opening the door for catching prospect Miguel Amaya to make his big league debut. Amaya has shared time behind the plate with Tucker Barnhart while Gomes has been on the shelf, but Gomes figures to take the lion’s share of playing time once he returns from injury.
A less positive injury update came from Cubs manager David Ross regarding right-hander Adrian Sampson, as noted by Wittenmeyer. The 31-year-old journeyman underwent debridement surgery on his right knee on Friday. No timetable has been announced for Sampson’s return to action. After a solid pair of partial seasons with the Cubs that saw him post a 3.03 ERA and 4.28 FIP in 139 2/3 innings since the start of the 2021 season, Sampson was in the mix to be the Cubs’ fifth starter this spring, though he ultimately lost out on the role to Wesneski. Sampson has yet to pitch in the majors for the Cubs this season, but figures to be a depth option for them whenever he returns to the mound.
While Willson Contreras will always have a place in Cubs’ lore, Yan Gomes is the superior backstop in 2023
When I think 2016 Cubs catchers, I first think of Miguel Montero and then David Ross.
It didn’t end well with Miggy but the trade for Montero really set the stage for what was to come. He also had some of the best home run follow throughs I’ve ever seen.
I think it was a humorous story about Montero I read years ago – maybe it was here in MLBTR. He was in a minor league assignment when a scout had an ice cream sandwich delivered to him in the dugout that resulted in a physical altercation between Montero and the scout. Am I remembering that correctly?
That was Jesus montero not Miguel montero
That’s what happens when you get your messiahs and archangels mixed up.
Miguel Montero ran himself out of town when the Nationals stole 7 bases in a game in 2017 and he blamed Jake Arrieta for being too slow to the plate and not holding runners on
Cannot wait for the video tribute and Willson’s first at bat tomorrow night.
They’ll have Contreras bawling like a baby, but the Cardinals may have him cried out by then.
Twisting his ankle in the Field of Dreams game last year?
Barnhart has been quite a disappointment so far, and it wasn’t like I was expecting that much. On the other hand, I’m encouraged by what Amaya has been doing. He has had many good ABs, even though his batting average hasn’t reflected that. For a guy who has hardly been active the last few years, he needs to play often to make up for lost time. But come August I’m hoping he can be the 2nd Catcher.
Why the hell do these MLBTR writers keep saying that Kyle Hendricks had shoulder surgery when he did not have shoulder surgery? HE OPTED FOR REST AND RECOVERY INSTEAD. HE DID NOT HAVE SURGERY.
HE DID NOT HAVE SURGERY.
HE DID NOT HAVE SURGERY.
When are these guys going to get that right hey Lloyd? Brutal
Hayden Wesneski seems to be getting it together. It’s too bad he will likely be the one to give up his spot to Hendricks when he returns.
Wesneski definitely seems like he’s settling in and it’s going to be interesting to see how the Cubs navigate the rotation when Hendricks is ready. Tallion is actually the weak link at this point.
I’m not sure what Hendricks will be like when he returns, but I certainly get the feeling people want to move passed Hendricks. I’m going to put some context around Hendricks’ ’21 numbers, because there’s a narrative that Hendricks has been bad for a couple years. I don’t think that is the case.
Hendricks was tied for 9th in quality starts in all of MLB in ’21. Better than Scherzer, Cole, Castillo, Burnes, Lynn, Corbin, Stroman, Darvish and on…
Hendricks had 6 horrible starts where he gave up 45 runs. In the other 26 starts he gave up 51 earned in 157 IP for a 2.92 ERA. 17 starts he gave up 2 or less. 21 starts he went 6 IP or longer.
’22 he was obviously dealing with the injury. Almost every pitcher has a year like that over their career, including Smyly.
Hendricks has been undervalued and under appreciated his entire career. I don’t know what he’s going to give the Cubs when he returns, I just find it odd that people are dismissing him.
I’ll add, Wesneski was given 7 starts to settle in, when wouldn’t Hendricks be given the same opportunity given his history? If he comes back to his old form, now the Cubs have #1 Steele, #1A Stroman, and three #3s in Smyly, Hendricks and Wesneski.
Again, I have no idea how the Cubs will handle the situation, but too much great pitching isn’t a bad thing. Especially considering Stroman may opt out after the season. I think Stroman will opt out, but also think he likes where he is and will renegotiate his contract and return.
So you think the Cubs are just gonna let Taillon rot? They just paid $68m/4 yrs. and you don’t even put him in the rotation lol!!
Can you please find where I said Taillon would “rot”… I keep reading my comment over and over, and I don’t see that anywhere.
After his lastest disaster start, the ERA is now 6.41. Now that you mention it, leaving him out of the rotation is certainly on the table… Taillon may be the next Heyward.
Yeah, so are you still “lol”… Explain Taillon’s role at this point. Do you still roll a guy out there making $17M a year with a 8.10 ERA, or do you make other plans? You’ve been crazy silent, but I’m keeping receipts and trust me, I’ll tag you every post you make, genius.