MESA, Ariz. — In his spring debut, Kyle Hendricks showed off a curve ball he’s auditioning for greater use in games with his fastball-changeup repertoire.
He faced just seven batters in two quick, scoreless innings before the A’s eventually turned on the rout with a six-run sixth inning to beat the Cubs 10-3 in a Cactus League game at Sloan Park.
“It’s going to be a point of emphasis, just using it in a game,” Hendricks said of the curve ball he talked about trying to use more for the last year. “Just being able to see where I can use it in spots will give me more confidence. You can throw it all you want in bullpens, but when you get real hitters in real game situations, I just need to mix it in there more and see what happens with it.”
Right-fielder Jason Heyward, who was scratched from the lineup Tuesday because of a personal issue, returned to the lineup Thursday and is back on a regular rotation of spring games.
He singled to left and struck out in two at-bats.
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Super utility dude Ben Zobrist, another Cub with a personal matter, which delayed his arrival to camp, made his spring debut Thursday.
He grounded out twice as the designated hitter.
“They’re both doing well,” manager Joe Maddon said of Zobrist and Heyward. “It’s still February.”
Bounce-back bullpen candidates Brian Duensing, a left-hander, and Brandon Kintzler, a righty, each pitched a 1-2-3 inning in relief of Hendricks before the Athletics did damage late.
Duensing got a grounder, a pop to second and a fly to the gap in left-center for his second scoreless outing of the spring. Kintzler got a grounder, strikeout and fly to center. He also has two scoreless appearances.
Cubs at Diamondbacks, Scottsdale, 2:10 p.m. Friday, cubs.com radio, Jose Quintana vs. Robbie Ray.