Chicago Cubs News: Kyle Hendricks appears ready for return after latest rehab start

Kyle Hendricks pitches for the Iowa Cubs during a game against Louisville at Principal Park,
Kyle Hendricks pitches for the Iowa Cubs during a game against Louisville at Principal Park, / Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA

After returning to Chicago last week to correct a mechanical flaw in his delivery, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks has been excellent in his two starts since with the Iowa Cubs as he continues his minor-league rehab assignment.

Hendricks pitched 5 innings in his start for the I-Cubs against the Toledo Mud Hens on Sunday and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks. Hendricks threw 79 pitches in total and struck out a total of 4 batters.

The goal for Hendricks, who hasn't appeared in a Major League game since last July, is to build up his strength to the point where he is able to pitch at least 6 innings on a regular schedule. Hendricks appears to be at that point and a decision could be made soon in regard to the veteran starting pitcher being activated from the IL.

Hendricks' imminent return is coming at an important time for the Cubs. The Cubs' pitching staff struggled over the course of their weekend series against the Minnesota Twins. Notably, Cubs' rookie starting pitcher Hayden Wesneski reverted back to his early-season struggles on Saturday as he allowed 7 through 5 innings pitched. Wesneski allowed four home runs in his start on Saturday and is looking like he may be the odd man out once Hendricks returns.

It will be interesting to see how the Cubs balance their pitching staff once Hendricks returns. Wesneski returning to Triple-A Iowa may be the most likely option but a six-man rotation also shouldn't be ruled out considering Hendricks may be operating with a pitch-count limit once he initially returns.

While the I-Cubs fell to the Mud Hens 6-2 in Hendricks' start on Sunday, catching prospect Miguel Amaya was terrific on offense. With his run at the Major League level earlier this month, Amaya may have reclaimed his role as the future catcher for the team. Against the Mud Hens on Sunday, Amaya went 4-4 with two doubles.

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