Cubs place Kyle Hendricks on injured list with right shoulder strain
Hendricks had his shortest start of the season Tuesday, lasting just three innings in the Cubs’ 8-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. He threw 69 pitches and his velocity was lower than usual.
MILWAUKEE — A day after being pulled from a start three innings and 69 pitches in, the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks landed on the 15-day injured list with a strained right shoulder.
Hendricks has been here before, he believes — in June, when he missed a start with the same sort of discomfort. He made his return after a 12-day break and lasted 78 pitches over five highly effective innings before leaving the game — fatigued, he said — and made his next four starts seemingly without incident. Hendricks, 4-6 with a 4.80 ERA this season, had yet to undergo an MRI exam as the Cubs prepared to take on the Brewers on Wednesday.
“Being cautious, dealing with this a little bit before, we’ve got the All-Star break coming up, giving him a little rest and building him back up is the smart thing to do,” manager David Ross said.
There’s a bigger picture here, as there is for most everything that occurs with the Aug. 2 trade deadline bearing down and the Cubs clearly positioned as sellers. Would a healthy Hendricks have been traded? Very possible. Will a damaged, unreliable Hendricks be traded? Very hard to imagine. Hendricks, 32, is under contract next year for $14 million, with a $16 million club option for 2024.
Hendricks is “encouraged” by the fact he was able to bounce back quickly in June, but one should bear in mind the cautionary tale of Wade Miley, who has been on the injured list with a shoulder strain since June 11 and still isn’t close to returning.
Marcus Stroman and Drew Smyly ought to be back very soon, at least, and could start the last two games of a four-game series at Dodger Stadium that begins Thursday.
Pitcher Anderson Espinoza was recalled from Double-A Tennessee in a corresponding move.
Caratini on Contreras
Former Cubs catcher Victor Caratini, who won the series opener Monday for the Brewers with a walk-off home run, still is “a little surprised” the Cubs traded him (OK, he was more of a throw-in with Yu Darvish) after the 2020 season.
“It definitely started everything,” he said through an interpreter, referring to the Cubs’ era-ending trades of 2021.
Caratini is well aware that the All-Star catcher he used to back up, Willson Contreras, is the team’s latest high-end trade chip. Does this stuff make any sense?
“You hope for Willson that he stays there and plays his whole career there, which would be awesome,” Caratini said. “But, at the end of the day, you know anyone can be traded in this business.”
Getting back at it
Reinforcements are coming soon, with second baseman Nick Madrigal and lefty Daniel Norris set to begin rehab assignments at Triple-A Iowa on Thursday, and first baseman Frank Schwindel headed for Iowa to begin a rehab assignment Friday.
Madrigal has been on the injured list since June 12 with a strained groin, Schwindel since June 18 with a strained lower back and Norris since June 22 with a sprained index finger.
ON DECK: CUBS AT DODGERS
Thursday: Mark Leiter Jr. (2-2, 4.85) vs. Tony Gonsolin (10-0, 1.54), 9:10 p.m., Marquee, 670-AM.
Friday: Keegan Thompson (7-3, 3.41) vs. TBD, 9:10 p.m., Marquee, 670-AM.
Saturday: TBD vs. TBD, 9:10 p.m., Marquee, 670-AM.
Sunday: TBD vs. TBD, 3:10 p.m., Marquee, 670-AM.