Chicago Cubs Spring Training: Kyle Hendricks to throw off mound
When Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer met with reporters on Wednesday, the indication was that starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks will miss the start of the season. Hoyer also gave the impression that Hendricks would return to throwing off the mound in the near future.
"“Kyle’s feeling really good,” Hoyer said. “Hopefully, he’ll get off a mound here really soon. We know he’s going to be delayed. We’ll have a lot of discussions about how much. But certainly we’re prepared to start the season without him. We’ll see when he comes back. But the most important thing is getting him back to pitching like Kyle Hendricks. We’re willing to wait a little while for that.”"- Jed Hoyer via The Athletic
On Saturday, Hendricks told reporters that his first bullpen session will be next Friday.
Hendricks was shut down with a shoulder injury after his July 5 start against the Milwaukee Brewers. When Hendricks throws off the mound at Cubs' Spring Training next Friday, it will mark the first time he has done so since that July game against the Brewers.
Based on Hendricks revealing that he is approximately a month behind his normal schedule, it would appear that he is on track to return to the Major League level in May. Unlike the start of the last season, the Cubs have equipped themselves with pitching depth to withstand an injury or two to the team's starting rotation. Keegan Thompson will be stretched out during Spring Training and Adbert Alzolay is fully healthy as well. The Cubs also have a plethora of arms in Adrian Sampson, Javier Assad, and Roenis Elias among others that would be capable of stepping into the starting rotation if need be.
For as much as Hendricks has meant to the team since his debut in 2014, there should be no expectations for the veteran starting pitcher in 2023. If Hendricks proves to be healthy and regains the form that originally placed him toward the top of the Cubs' rotation, there is no question that would be a great development for the team. The issue is that Hendricks, when healthy, has struggled over the course of the past two seasons as he posted a 4.77 ERA in 2021 and a 4.80 ERA in 2022. Any production that Hendricks is able to provide the Cubs this season should be considered a bonus.