The Chicago Cubs rotation has been performing well, but the gap in talent and production between the top three options – Marcus Stroman, Drew Smyly, and Justin Steele – and the bottom two – Jameson Taillon and Hayden Wesneski – has been substantial.
Luckily for them, they are about to welcome back a longtime starter that could add some competition to the group: Kyle Hendricks.
“The lone member left from the 2016 Cubs is close to returning. Kyle Hendricks (shoulder) has another rehab start scheduled for Tuesday. He hasn’t pitched in an MLB game since last July,” Cubs insider Jesse Rogers tweeted.
The lone member left from the 2016 Cubs is close to returning. Kyle Hendricks (shoulder) has another rehab start scheduled for Tuesday. He hasn’t pitched in an MLB game since last July. pic.twitter.com/x7Smi7Z3WL
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) May 5, 2023
Hendricks has been recovering from last year’s capsular tear in his right shoulder.
That injury required surgery.
The 33-year-old right-hander doesn’t exactly base his game in velocity, but any shoulder injury for a pitcher is a big deal and should be treated with caution.
He has been throwing bullpen sessions and slowly working his way back to the team.
The rehab assignment isn’t going smoothly from a results standpoint, as he has conceded 10 runs in 4.1 innings spread over two starts.
However, the most important takeaway is that the shoulder feels good.
He has been working on some mechanical issues but is expected to join the Cubs rotation later this month.
When he is ready to go, he will likely take Wesneski’s spot, given that Taillon was a major free agent signing from the offseason and his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) of 2.48 has been much better than his 5.29 ERA and is a good omen for his future performance.NEXT: The Cubs Are Being Carried By A Surprise Ace