Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks progressing well; Adbert Alzolay more than just happy to be here

Hendricks played catch in the outfield Friday before the Cubs’ 5-4 loss to the Mets at Wrigley Field. It was a good sign for a pitcher more than halfway into a 10-day injured-list stint with an impingement in his right shoulder.

SHARE Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks progressing well; Adbert Alzolay more than just happy to be here
St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs

Hendricks could be out another couple of starts, but he played some catch Friday — a good sign.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Kyle Hendricks played catch in the outfield Friday before the Cubs’ 5-4 loss to the Mets at Wrigley Field. It was a good sign for a pitcher more than halfway into a 10-day injured-list stint with an impingement in his right shoulder. It’s too soon, though, to slot him back into the rotation. He could miss another couple of turns.

“We’re happy that the initial shutdown has been good, but we’re not ready to talk through a plan yet, or a progression,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Listen, we want to get him back on the mound as the dominant Kyle Hendricks, not rush him back.”

The longer Hendricks is shelved, the greater the opportunity would seem to be for Adbert Alzolay, who was the winning pitcher Thursday against the Mets in his major-league debut. The 24-year-old Venezuelan — projected by many as the Cubs’ No. 5 starter in 2020 — allowed one hit and one run in four-plus innings in relief of Tyler Chatwood and was the first Cub to win in his debut since Ryan O’Malley in 2006.

Will Alzolay get the starting nod the next time Hendricks’ usual turn comes up, Tuesday against the Braves at Wrigley?

“Still discussing, have no idea, not ready to disclose,” manager Joe Maddon said.

Either way, Alzolay couldn’t stop smiling as he stood with his back to his locker the morning after. Proof of the achievement was stacked on a shelf behind him in the form of four game balls — one for his first pitch, one for his first strikeout, one for striking out the side and one for the last out of the game after Steve Cishek got the last three outs.

Is he always so happy?

“Yeah, pretty much,” Alzolay said.

All-Star update

Seven Cubs were named All-Star finalists by finishing as top-three vote-getters (top nine for outfielders) in preliminary voting: Willson Contreras, C; Anthony Rizzo, 1B; Javy Baez, SS; Kris Bryant, 3B; and Albert Almora, Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber, OF.

The Cubs’ seven finalists tie them with the Astros and Braves for most in baseball.

Chicago flubs

Rizzo, representing the tying run, killed an eighth-inning rally Friday with some terrible baserunning, rounding second so far on Contreras’ pop single to left that he got himself into a rundown for the third out. Rizzo outdid Almora, who got picked off first base to end the sixth in a 4-4 game.

In between: reliever Brad Brach’s wild pitch in the seventh that allowed the eventual winning run to advance into scoring position.

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