Cubs won’t push Hendricks’ hand injury after setback, could miss weeks

Two days after starter Kyle Hendricks had a second MRI exam on his ailing pitching hand, the only thing that seems clear about his return is that it will be measured in weeks instead of the days the team originally hoped.

The good news for the Cubs was that the MRI suggested nothing more than the inflammation originally diagnosed in the area from his middle finger into the back of his hand.

“We don’t have a particular finish line in mind yet,” manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s sore. It’s just not going away.”

Hendricks originally hoped to return from the DL in time to pitch this weekend. But after a setback Tuesday, when he threw for the first time since the DL move, the Cubs shut him down again.

Kyle Hendricks during his last start, June 4.

“We don’t want to push him right now, so we’ll let it just go at his own pace,” said Maddon, who also anticipates a brief rehab assignment. “Once he gets to that [pain-free] point, then we’ll move it along. But until that happens, we all have to just be patient. It’s just an awkward injury.”

Happy homecoming

Pittsburgh-area native Ian Happ, who played at PNC Park for the first time after “a few dozen” games watching from the stands, singled and scored in the Cubs’ three-run first inning.

The rookie said he left about 20 tickets for family and friends.

“I watched a lot of baseball for over 10 years here. I came here when you could buy a ticket for $9 and sit wherever you wanted in the park,” Happ said. “Just memories of different places I’ve sat in the stadium, different games I’ve watched and all the players I’ve watched come through, it’s really, really special.”

Not 2016 anymore

Are the Cubs the team to beat in the National League this year? There aren’t many left who believe that anymore.

“We’ve turned the calendar on 2016,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told a Los Angeles radio station. “We feel we’re the best team.”

Maddon responded: “I’d say the same thing if the thing was reversed. They have a good team. They have a very good team. He should have said that.”

Follow me on Twitter @GDubCub.

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

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