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Could ERA champ Kyle Hendricks be sidelined through All-Star break?

Kyle Hendricks

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks said he’s confident after a second MRI and examination on his injured hand that the pain will soon be completely gone and doesn’t expect it to be a recurring thing.

But he’s no longer trying to predict timelines for his return, either, he said – and acknowledges that could mean missing his goal earlier in the week of pitching before the July 10-13 All-Star break.

“I was trying to do that beforehand, and now I’ve just tried to let it happen,” said Hendricks, whose strained tendon in the back of his right middle finger makes even gripping the baseball uncomfortable.

“I just kind of need to stay calm about it,” he said, “and just let the pain get out of there first. Then as soon as that’s out of there I feel like I can get optimistic and start planning out my throwing.”

He’s expected to need at least a brief minor-league rehab assignment once he’s ready to pitch.

It’s the nature and location of the injury, more than the severity, that is forcing such a deliberate approach with the majors’ 2016 ERA leader.

“It’s basically right on my middle finger so just gripping a ball, pushing down and gripping hard, there’s sharp pain in there,” Hendricks said. “So obviously we can’t have that. It is weird, but having it right in that middle finger – all my pitches come off that.”