Cubs' Hendricks happy to throw in front of familiar faces
After two rehab starts with Triple A Iowa, Kyle Hendricks' ERA is 20.77.
The last remaining Cubs player from the 2016 World Series team threw a bullpen session at Wrigley Field on Saturday and was extremely upbeat about his progress.
"Health-wise my shoulder feels great," he said while standing in the Cubs dugout. "Everything's trending in the right direction, so it's just some timing, getting the ball down, getting back to being myself now."
Hendricks felt getting a chance to throw in front of pitching coach Tommy Hottovy and receive immediate feedback would be an important step in his comeback. Hendricks expects to pitch again for Iowa on Tuesday and estimated he'll likely need a few more rehab starts before he's ready for the majors.
"These have been the most important two days of probably my entire rehab," he said. "Getting their eyes on me, they know me so well. They can make an adjustment one pitch to the next like in a bullpen. You really get so much better work out of it. I can't thank them enough.
"My couple starts (for Iowa), everything's just all over the place. Throwing my bullpen today, was way more myself, just with a couple cues. We're not putting a number on it, but it is going to happen really quick."
Hendricks hasn't pitched for the Cubs since July 5 of last season in Milwaukee. He went on the injured list with a right shoulder strain, gave it some rest and began his recovery in the fall.
Hendricks said by changing his routine, he's felt better in between starts. He's been throwing his fastball in the 90s at times, something he hasn't done consistently since 2016.
"Hitting 90, I haven't had that in a while," he said. "It's created a bigger ceiling for me. I have a way better chance. I don't have to be so pinpoint. Everything does have life, I've just got to get back to executing now."