The Cubs lost left-hander Cole Hamels to the injured list Friday, but there’s better news regarding fellow rotation stalwart Kyle Hendricks. The righty, who has been out two weeks because of shoulder inflammation, could return to the Cubs’ rotation as early as the upcoming week. It’s possible Hendricks will skip a rehab start and slot back into the team’s starting staff Tuesday, per Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. If that happens, the Cubs could get two Hendricks starts before the All-Star break. That would be a boon for NL Central-leading Chicago, whose rotation looks especially shaky at the moment without Hamels and Hendricks. Both starters have enjoyed terrific seasons thus far, with Hendricks having pitched to a 3.36 ERA/3.48 FIP and posted 7.64 K/9 against 1.63 BB/9 in 88 1/3 innings.
More on a few other injured notables…
- Rangers designated hitter/outfielder Hunter Pence will embark on a two-game minor league rehab stint beginning Monday, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Barring setbacks, Pence will return to the Rangers on Wednesday. Pence has been out since June 17 with a right groin strain, but the stunning start the revived 36-year-old jumped out to before then earned him his fourth career All-Star nod. Thanks in no small part to Pence, who’s raking at a .294/.353/.608 clip (142 wRC+) with 15 home runs over 215 plate appearances, Texas owns a 46-37 record and a 1 1/2-game lead on the AL’s last wild-card spot.
- Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger won’t return until sometime after the All-Star break, manager Scott Servais announced Saturday (via Greg Johns of MLB.com). The Mariners had been hopeful Haniger would come back a bit before then, but the ruptured testicle he suffered June 6 will ultimately keep him out at least five weeks.
- Athletics closer Blake Treinen is on track to come off the IL on Wednesday, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com tweets. In the meantime, Treinen’s likely to pitch a rehab game Monday. The A’s placed Treinen on the shelf last Saturday with a right shoulder strain, continuing a disappointing campaign for the 30-year-old. Arguably the majors’ premier reliever in 2018, Treinen has recorded a pedestrian 4.08 ERA/4.11 FIP with 9.17 K/9, 5.35 BB/9 and a 43.2 percent groundball rate in 35 1/3 innings this season.
- Reds lefty Alex Wood has dealt with multiple setbacks in his recovery from a back injury, an issue that has stopped him from pitching in the majors this year. But he’ll make another attempt to progress toward a rehab assignment, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer relays. Wood plans to throw off flat ground Sunday, and the Reds will determine his next step thereafter. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed, hopeful that it wasn’t too big of a setback for him,” manager David Bell said of the latest setback Wood suffered earlier this week.