Kyle Hendricks encouraged by performance in Cubs’ 4-4 tie against White Sox
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MESA, Ariz. — Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ No. 2 starter, had his best feel of the spring on his signature changeup, helping lead to seven strikeouts among the 12 outs he recorded against the White Sox in a Cactus League game that finished in a 4-4 tie Saturday at Sloan Park.
The Cubs, who were to play a second split-squad game Saturday night against the Dodgers in Glendale, Arizona, tied the game when minor-leaguer Cael Brockmeyer homered leading off the bottom of the ninth — a half-inning after former Cubs prospect Eloy Jimenez returned from a knee injury to deliver a go-ahead, pinch-hit, two-run homer off Cory Mazzoni.
More important was Hendricks’ performance, especially when it came to the changeup.
“That’s the thing that really hasn’t been up to par [this spring],” said Hendricks, who pitched one batter into the fifth and gave up two runs – one of which scored after he left the game. “I threw a couple of really good ones today and had good velo difference between my fastball.”
Hendricks gave up five hits and didn’t walk a batter.
“I’m not pitching for strikeouts, so going forward I need to work on that second-pitch contact and getting a few quick outs,” he said. “Other than that, at least I’m making good pitches at this point.”
Carl Edwards Jr., the right-hander manager Joe Maddon calls a closer in the making, retired Welington Castillo (grounder), Tim Anderson (fly ball) and Yolmer Sanchez (strikeout) in order to extend his spring scoreless streak to four outings.
Most significant, Edwards – who struggled with command late last season and in the postseason – hasn’t walked a batter.
He has three strikeouts and has allowed two hits in four Cactus League innings.
Brother, can you spare a backup job?
Victor Caratini, the second-year catcher on the outside looking in when it comes to the opening roster, continued his effort to make a case for a spot over veteran backup Chris Gimenez.
His go-ahead homer to right-center in the third was the Cubs’ first hit off Lucas Giolito, and he added a leadoff walk off Giolito in the fifth.
The switch hitter is 6-for-22 (.273) with two extra-base hits and five walks (.429 OBP) this spring.
“Caratini’s been looking really good,” Maddon said, “behind the plate and at the plate.”
On deck: Cubs at Athletics, Mesa, Yu Darvish vs. Sean Manaea, 3:05 p.m. Sunday, cubs.com audio.
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