Cubs have no plans of moving Kyle Hendricks out of the rotation - at least not yet

The veteran has produced unacceptable results in his first three starts, but for multiple reasons, Chicago will let him try to iron things out.
Chicago Cubs v San Diego Padres
Chicago Cubs v San Diego Padres / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

Kyle Hendricks has been around long enough to know he's not giving the Chicago Cubs what they need. The veteran has pitched poorly in his first three starts, especially when going through the lineup for the third time when opponents have an OPS of 2.722 against him.

“I’m not being who I am normally,” Hendricks told after his last start. “So, a lot of reevaluation. I’m just pissed. I’m letting my guys down. Bottom line.”

The right-hander coughed up seven runs in the loss to San Diego and has failed to stabilize a Cubs rotation that's without Justin Steele or Jameson Taillon. But those calling for Hendricks to be replaced are going to be disappointed, at least for the time being - for multiple reasons.

The first, and most obvious, is that Craig Counsell is working with a shorthanded staff at the moment, not only in the rotation but also in the bullpen, which is expected to be without Julian Merryweather for around two months. Throw in the fact Jose Cuas was so ineffective the team optioned him to Iowa and that Hector Neris and Yency Almonte have both also struggled and it quickly becomes clear the Cubs aren't exactly in calm waters here in April.

Cubs aren't in a position to be picky - despite how bad Kyle Hendricks has been in his first three starts of the season

Counsell is still very much piecing together the bullpen approach and until he gets some reinforcements in the rotation that might allow someone like Ben Brown to slide into a relief role, Hendricks isn't going anywhere. It's also worth being clear about Hendricks' abilities: he doesn't have the stuff to be an effective reliever, so you can drop that idea right now.

I haven't given up on Hendricks just yet. He's, after all, a notoriously slow starter and the numbers bear that out. But Counsell needs to tweak his game plan for the veteran and, at least in the interim, make sure he doesn't get exposed to opponents a third time through the lineup. That's where his biggest issues have been and if they can prevent those matchups, maybe he can string together a few serviceable starts and get back on track.