Chicago Cubs Spring Training: Kyle Hendricks may miss start of the season
Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer and general manager Carter Hawkins met with reporters on Wednesday as the team's pitchers and catchers officially reported to Spring Training. Among the updates that Hoyer provided on Wednesday was an update on starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks.
A shoulder injury ended Hendricks' 2022 season prematurely and it would appear likely that the veteran starting pitcher will begin the season on the IL.
Hendricks has been spotted at the Cubs' Spring Training facility in Arizona since January and reports over the offseason had the starting pitcher working on adding velocity to his mix of pitches. Though, if Hendricks is still in the middle of recovering from the shoulder injury that sidelined him at the end of the 2022 season, then the chances are that there won't be a noticeable difference in velocity once he returns to the Major League level.
In regard to a potential return date for Hendricks, May or June have always appeared to be the most likely targets. Fortunately for the Cubs, the team emphasized pitching depth this offseason and is in a position to withstand the loss of Hendricks. Adrian Sampson and Drew Smyly are both returning to the team after having impressive runs while pitching out of the Cubs' starting rotation last season. Keegan Thompson is also an option as the plan is for him to get some starts during Spring Training but he ultimately may serve as the team's "bullpen ace" along with Adbert Alzolay.
One name to keep an eye on is Hayden Wesneski. Wesneski was mentioned by Hoyer on Wednesday as a starting pitcher that the team is expecting to take a step forward this season. Wesneski posted a 2.18 ERA in 6 appearances (4 starts) with the Cubs last season and is believed to be an important piece to the long-term structure of the team's rotation.