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Cubs Move Kyle Hendricks To Bullpen

Cubs are moving Kyle Hendricks meanwhile, manager Craig Counsell told the team’s rhythm (X link via Patrick Mooney of The Athletic). Counsell stated that the team is hopeful that the veteran right-hander will be able to return to the game in the future, but he will have to improve his results first.

Hendricks has been the starting point of his entire career. In the first seven years of his MLB tenure, he was a rare quality arm. Hendricks’ pure command and ability to keep the ball down more than overcome his average speed and batting average. He won the ERA title in Chicago’s 2016 curse-busting season and finished in the top 10 in Cy Young voting.

Things have not gone well for the past three and a half years. Hendricks posted a near 5.00 ERA in both 2021 and ’22. He came back from a torn capsule in his shoulder to post a 3.74 ERA over 24 starts last year. That convinced the Cubs to open a $16.5MM option this season. While it wasn’t too surprising at the time, that’s a decision the front office really wishes it could go back.

Pitchers were successful for Hendricks in his first seven starts of 2024. He allowed 37 runs over 30 2/3 innings. Hendricks has given up 10 home runs and has a low 7.7% swinging strikeout rate. His 48.2% slugging percentage and 7.3% walk rate are each respectable, but opponents have compiled a massive .362/.411/.638 slash line over 151 plate appearances.

A back problem sent Hendricks to the injured list at the end of April. After missing three weeks, he returned to start two games against the Pirates. Hendricks threw five innings of one-run ball in his first game back but was tagged for eight runs in 4 2/3 frames last week. Counsell admitted after the game that the Cubs need better production from that area of ​​the rotation.

They will try to put that together in the meantime. The Cubs are planning a bullpen game on Thursday against the Braves in what would have been Hendricks’ spot. Ultimately they will need to settle on a fifth starter behind a solid four Shota Imanaga, Justin Steele, Jameson Taillon again Javier Assad. Rights Ben Brown again Hayden Wesneski he can log a lot of innings, and the Cubs can get left-handed Jordan Wicks before too long.

An arm strain sent Wicks to the injured list on April 28. Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune tweets that the former first-round pick will soon seek a rehab assignment after a bullpen session this afternoon. Although Wicks had a 4.70 ERA through his first five starts, a solid 25.9% strikeout rate gives reason to hope he can manage better results after reinstatement.

The injury news wasn’t all good. Montemurro adds to that effect Adbert Alzolay referred him for a second opinion after being diagnosed with a flexor strain last week. Alzolay saved 22 games with a 2.67 ERA over 64 innings last year. He had a rough start to the 2024 campaign, allowing 13 runs (nine earned) over 17 1/3 frames.

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