Cubs lefty Brandon Hughes ready to ‘get back out there’

The Cubs reinstated Hughes from the 15-day IL on Saturday.

SHARE Cubs lefty Brandon Hughes ready to ‘get back out there’
The Cubs’ Brandon Hughes throws during a spring training baseball workout.

The Cubs’ Brandon Hughes throws during a spring training baseball workout.

Morry Gash/AP

OAKLAND — Cubs left-hander Brandon Hughes went through several braces on his left knee while he was on the injured list for the first couple of weeks of the season.

Hughes, whom the Cubs reinstated from the 15-day IL on Saturday, ditched the bulkier brace — the kind offensive linemen wear in football — and opted for a compression sleeve with a circle of padding.

‘‘The main thing was trying to get back to consistency,’’ Hughes said last weekend, pointing to the brace changes and efforts to reduce swelling. ‘‘The big brace, I don’t think it was meant to be pitched in. But the sleeve brace is a whole lot better. And I feel like I’m actually building on and being consistent with my mechanics.’’

Hughes described his knee issue as ‘‘bone-on-bone.’’ In 2015, he had surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee. Since then, however, he hadn’t had a flare-up like the one he experienced this spring.

‘‘I can’t even really put a finger on it,’’ Hughes said. ‘‘It was getting mad at me every single time I touched the mound or anytime I did anything explosive. And it would swell up, and then I’d have to get it drained. And it’d swell up, [and] I’d have to get it drained. So it’s been frustrating, but I think we’re on a good track.’’

He had trouble sinking into his leg and pushing off it. The Cubs shut him down after four spring outings.

In a three-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa, Hughes had two scoreless outings and gave up three runs in the other. The Cubs have been tracking his knee and shin angle, along with his pitch data, and Hughes said everything is trending in the right direction.

What’s the last step to get him back to where he left off last season, when he was one of the Cubs’ most reliable back-end relievers?

‘‘Get me back out there,’’ Hughes said. ‘‘Get me in some game situations. I’m ready for that.’’

Hughes finally made his first big-league appearance of the season with a scoreless eighth inning in the Cubs’ 10-1 victory Monday against the A’s. He allowed two hits and struck out one.

Arizona report

Veteran right-hander Kyle Hendricks (strained right shoulder) threw two innings in a simulated game at extended spring training, the Cubs said. He has built up to 36 pitches.

‘‘Everything’s on track,’’ manager David Ross said. ‘‘He feels great. Things are moving really well. He’s super-positive, feels excellent. So all positive signs. We’re trying to build him up and make sure when he goes out on these [rehab] starts, you can get three-plus [innings]. That is where our head’s at before we send him out.’’

The Cubs haven’t said exactly when they will send Hendricks on a rehab assignment, but he is nearing that step.

Right-hander Codi Heuer (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to throw one inning in a simulated game Tuesday.

Balanced schedule

The Cubs made the trip to Oakland for the first time in seven years. The new balanced-schedule format will eliminate such gaps.

‘‘I like it,’’ Ross said. ‘‘New ballparks, different environments, different challenges. Playing everybody seems to make a lot of sense.’’

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