You could say that the injury bug technically bit the Cubs’ rotation when Brett Anderson went down with a back injury, but, given that he was already barely holding onto that rotation spot, and given that he was coming off of back surgery, it didn’t have that same feeling of a pop-up injury in the rotation.
The Cubs had managed extreme levels of rotation health over the past few years, so it only seems fair (?) that an injury would eventually pop up. Hopefully this isn’t a serious one, and, with the new 10-day disabled list (down from a 15-day minimum stay), perhaps Hendricks misses only one start.
After a nice run of starts, Hendricks, whose velocity has been down this year, is coming off of back-to-back disappointing starts against the Padres and Cardinals. We’ll update as soon as we know more on his longer-term status and the details of his injury.
Tomorrow’s start, which was supposed to go to Hendricks, will instead be taken by Mike Montgomery, who’d previously been getting into something of a piggyback role with Eddie Butler. Instead, he’ll now take a full start of his own, and hopefully can give the Cubs five or so strong innings tomorrow.
Righty Seth Frankoff comes up to take Hendricks’ roster spot, and there’s a part of me that wishes he was getting the start tomorrow, too. Not because I don’t like Montgomery – I think he’s great when he’s on – but the current setup had the potential to work well for both Montgomery and Butler, and Frankoff has been pitching very well after he was converted back into a starting pitcher late last year by the Dodgers.
The 28-year-old righty has posted a 2.77 ERA over 55.1 innings this year at Iowa (9 starts, 2 relief appearances), and a 4.47 FIP. His 26.7% K rate and 6.8% BB rate are both excellent, and only the 16.7% HR/FB ratio has held him back from being overwhelmingly dominant.
We can’t say that it will translate to the big leagues – Frankoff has not broken through yet – but it has certainly worked so far at AAA.
In any case, the Cubs will get an opportunity to see Frankoff against big league batters, and Montgomery will get another chance to show what he can do as a starter – no small thing, since the Cubs may well need him in that role later this year and/or heading into next year.
UPDATE: To make room for Frankoff on the 40-man roster, Brett Anderson was transferred to the 60-day DL. Given that it didn’t look like he was coming back soon, I don’t know that there’s much lost time here.