Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks looks, feels back to normal after break

·3 min read

Hendricks looks, feels back to normal in return to Cubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

A prescribed break appears to be just what the doctor ordered for Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks.

With off days built into their schedule, the Cubs skipped Hendricks’ recent turns in the rotation, giving him time to rest his fatigued shoulder following a shortened spring training and his heavy early-season workload.

He returned to the mound Tuesday for the first time in 13 days to face the NL West heavyweight Padres and fared well, tossing five-plus innings of one-run ball with no walks and six strikeouts.

“It benefited me a ton health wise,” Hendricks said of the time off. “I feel back to 100 percent normal.

“That was huge from Rossy (Cubs manager David Ross) to find that window there with a couple off days to have me skip a start and really decrease my volume a lot.

“I feel back to normal, so now should be good to go.”

Hendricks has had an inconsistent start to the 2022 season, throwing just two quality starts while entering the day with a 5.22 ERA in 11 outings.

Over his previous four starts entering Tuesday, he allowed 15 earned runs in 19 2/3 innings — including seven in a five-inning start last month.

Tuesday was more emblematic of the guy he’s been and the guy the Cubs need him to be.

“It was good to have him back,” Ross said.

The elements were unkind to Hendricks; he took the mound to 94-degree heat at Wrigley Field. On top of that, the Padres battled hard in the first inning despite striking out three times.

Hendricks threw 27 pitches, and San Diego fouled off 11 of them. He threw 51 pitches over his final four-plus innings.
 
“With how hot it was, just trying to take a deep breath, deliver and execute a good pitch,” Hendricks said of the first. “Once I got through that, it was nice to have a couple quick innings late to kind of make up for that."

Hendricks, who threw a pair of bullpens during his time off, had a pitch count range around 85, Ross said. Between that and the weather, Ross said he was going batter to batter with him in the sixth inning.

Hendricks said he was beginning to feel fatigued in the sixth, when he allowed a leadoff double to Jake Cronenworth that ended his night.

“I left that pitch up and that was maybe the one bad pitch for me over the plate,” Hendricks said. “Overall, I felt health-wise great and stamina-wise real good there for a while.

“My stuff and my mechanics felt really good. Gotta get back into the routine now and get my pitch count back up.”

The Cubs bullpen had a brutal night. The Padres scored 12 runs after Hendricks exited, and only one was charged to him — Cronenworth.

“I wish I had something. They've been really good,” Ross said of the bullpen. “I'm not gonna sit up here and make some excuse or something. They weren't good and we’ll be back in there tomorrow.”

The bullpen wasn’t good, but there was a lot to like from Hendricks’ outing.

“I really got to establish that consistency, like I've been saying, start to start so the team can know what to expect every time I take the ball,” he said.

“That's a huge pride aspect for me. This is a good one to start but gotta keep going and got a lot more to go.”

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