Now long over the tendinitis in his right middle finger, Kyle Hendricks will finally officially make his return to the Chicago Cubs’ rotation tomorrow when the team welcomes the White Sox to Wrigley Field.
Hendricks, who has not made a start since June 4, will return to a mediocre pitching line of 4.09/4.51/4.09, and questions about whether he’ll get a little boost in his velocity now that he’s had a little extra rest for his arm. Hendricks had a weird start to the year, with three ugly outings marked by very low velocity and uncharacteristic command troubles. He followed that with six straight good starts before two bad ones and the DL trip. The hand issue, I believe, was kind of lingering at that point, so it may have made an impact.
Tentatively, I expect Hendricks to come back largely looking like the guy we know. He’ll probably never again equal the heights of the 2016 season when he was a deserved Cy Young finalist, but he was a very good starter in 2014 and 2015, and I see no reason to believe he can’t be that guy for many more years.
With Hendricks back in the rotation, Mike Montgomery will head to the bullpen, and the Cubs will go Hendricks, John Lackey, Jake Arrieta, and Jon Lester for the four games against the White Sox. The band is back together! You know, plus Jose Quintana. So that’s pretty cool.