The Cubs intend to activate Kyle Hendricks from the 10-day injured list on Tuesday so the right-hander can start that night’s game against the Pirates, manager Joe Maddon told reporters (including Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times). Hendricks will be limited to roughly 60-75 pitches, so Mike Montgomery or Tyler Chatwood will likely be in line to throw in long relief once Hendricks’ outing is complete.
Hendricks went on the IL on June 15 with a shoulder impingement, which is the type of broadly-defined injury that has occasionally sidelined players for long stretches of time. Fortunately for Hendricks and the Cubs, his problem seemed like a minor issue, as some rest after a cortisone shot and then some warm-up bullpen sessions have left him feeling “100 percent.”
Rather than send Hendricks to the minors for a rehab start, the right-hander will go right back into Chicago’s rotation in the hopes of continuing what has been another outstanding season. Hendricks has a 3.36 ERA, 7.6 K/9, and 4.69 K/BB rate over 88 1/3 innings in 2019, and his somewhat early return will greatly help a starting five that just lost Cole Hamels to the IL with a left oblique strain.
With an off-day on Friday and the All-Star break looming, Wittenmyer suggests that Adbert Alzolay could be optioned to Triple-A to make room for Hendricks on the 25-man roster, after Alzolay starts Monday’s game. Conversely, the Cubs could make another roster move to open a space for Hendricks and then, if he struggles or seems to be laboring, Alzolay could then start the Cubs’ final game of the first half on Sunday (Hendricks is tentatively slated to start that game).