Kyle Hendricks on track to start Game 2 of NLCS, Jason Hammel among pitchers Cubs keeping stretched out
Kyle Hendricks completed a side session Tuesday at AT&T Park prior to Game 4 of the NLDS. Hendricks threw on flat ground and under the watchful eyes of Chris Bosio, trainer Ed Halbur and Dr. Stephen Gryzlo. Hendricks told the beat writers after the session that he felt fine and was good to go for his next start. Hendricks was scheduled to throw another side session Wednesday back at Wrigley whether the Cubs closed out the series with the Giants or not.
According to multiple reports, Hendricks smiled as he walked off the field following Tuesday’s session and used words such as “perfect” and “good to go” to update his progress from a right forearm contusion (bruise) that put his next start into question.
Hendricks took a line drive off his right forearm in Game 2 of the NLDS that forced him to leave the game in the fourth inning. Hendricks said his forearm started to tighten up on him while he was making warm-up tosses to Willson Contreras. When asked how he felt after the game, Hendricks said he was much better and did not anticipate missing any time.
During Sunday’s workout at AT&T Park, Joe Maddon said Hendricks was sore but the Cubs did not feel he would miss any time.
Cubs’ pitching coach Chris Bosio joined Joe Ostrowski and Mike Esposito Wednesday morning for his weekly spot on the Mully and Hanley Show (670 The Score). And one of the many topics Bosio covered was the status of Kyle Hendricks.
“I think Kyle threw the ball really well [Tuesday]. I was actually out there for a short time with one of the trainers. It went well. It was just a flat-ground, 60-75 feet. I am going to try to get a couple hours of sleep here and then we are actually meeting him back again today [Wednesday] for another throwing session.”
“I don’t see any reason why he’s not going to be able to make that start unless he has another setback.”
The Cubs had not mentioned any problems or a setback with Hendricks. It’s unknown exactly how bad the injury was/is to his right forearm.
“But he’s progressing great,” Bosio said. “He’s had some good days in the training room and it’s cooperated. So, we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”
Joe Maddon said Thursday during his weekly spot on the Spiegel and Goff Show (670 The Score) that Hendricks had not suffered any setbacks.
“I think Kyle is going to be fine,” Maddon said Thursday. “We’ll find out who we are going to play then we will announce what we are going to do. Jon [Lester] is ready to rock ‘n roll [in Game 1]. Kyle, I think is going to be fine. I don’t know if we’re going to have to move him back. Maybe move Jake [Arrieta] up. I’m not 100 percent sure. We’ll find that out over the next day or so.”
The Cubs are keeping pitchers stretched out and active that were not included on the NLDS roster. And the Cubs have not ruled out carrying 12 pitchers on the NLCS roster. Hendricks’ injury and the 13-inning marathon in Game 3 have forced the Cubs to rethink the structure of the 25-man roster.
“There is going to be some intangibles in there,” Bosio said. “We will do what we did before, sit down and talk about it and collectively as an organization and probably decide here.”
There is a chance Jason Hammel will be on the NLCS roster. If Hendricks is able to pitch, Hammel could be added to the mix in the bullpen and in turn give Maddon a pitcher that can porvide multiple innings out of the pen along with Mike Montgomery.
The Cubs are concerned about not having enough pitching with the middle three games on the road and are looking to be prepared for every possible situation.
The Cubs had four pitchers go to Arizona and throw. Jason Hammel threw five innings and 80 pitches. Trevor Cahill and Rob Zastryzny each completed three innings and Joe Smith threw one inning.
“We’ve got these guys stretched out so we’ve got some options,” Bosio said. “It just depends on the opponent and which direction we want to go.”
Advanced scouts have been following the Nationals, Dodgers, Indians and Blue Jays for the last 10-12 games. Bosio said all of the advance guys will come in and the info that was collected will be added to what the Cubs already had on the teams.
Based on what Chris Bosio said Wednesday, Hector Rondon’s injury was much more severe than what was reported at the time.
“Trying to get him healthy was a big thing and we knew that there was going to be some bumps getting him back, especially in that first three, four appearance set we have. But lately man he’s getting where he’s throwing the ball good,” Bosio said.
“He got a nice double play ball [Tuesday]. Velocity has been maintained. Slider is starting to get sharper right at the right time. I don’t want to say he’s at the end of Spring Training mode but he’s definitely in the month of April.”
“Our guys come out of Spring Training pretty well trained on a program. That’s one thing that we’ve been able to do is setup routines for Rondon and [Pedro] Strop and the rest of the guys,” Bosio said. “Throwing programs where we can maximize this and prepare for it and I really believe we are starting to see those results from everybody. Ronnie is in that mode with Chappy [Aroldis Chapman] and Stropy [Pedro Strop], [Justin] Grimm, [Mike] Montgomery and Travis Wood, these guys have come up huge and we need that to win these games and we’re going to continue to need it in every game that we play all the way to winning this World Series.”
Joe Maddon likes the progress he’s seen from Rondon, especially with the shape of his slider. Maddon pointed to the lack of work Rondon had at the end of the season due to the injury as the reason for his struggles. Rondon was a lot better in Game 4 than he was in the eighth inning of Game 3.
There is a possibility the Cubs could add a left-hander and/or a long-man to the pitching staff for the NLCS, especially if the Dodgers are the opponent. The Cubs have kept the options open. It is not a given they will have the same 25-man roster for the NLCS that they used for the NLDS.