Hendricks and Health, Training Staff, Bellinger Blasts Astros, and Other Cubs Bullets | Bleacher Nation

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Hendricks and Health, Training Staff, Bellinger Blasts Astros, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

If today goes right, I will get a chance to share an Auntie Anne’s pretzel AND Graeter’s sundaes with The Wife. That’s how you do Valentine’s Day around here anyway …

  • Kyle Hendricks is not only quite good, but he has also been remarkably consistent in his career. The only rub for him has been the occasional short-term injury, which have collectively cost him about 10 or so starts over the past three years. Not really a huge deal, but you always want to strive for better, right? Plus, even when not missing time, the little tweaks and aches and pains and such could limit effectiveness. So Hendricks is, for this year, all about that health:

  • Keep in mind, among the many peripheral changes this year, the Cubs completely overhauled their training staff. That doesn’t mean guys will suddenly never get hurt again or will suddenly recover much faster or will suddenly perform better through injuries. But it does mean – if you’ve made the right hires and they do their job well – the Cubs players will be in a slightly better position to avoid additional lengthening or worsening of the injuries that do inevitably occur, and/or will be in a better position to rest when necessary, and/or will be better equipped to stave off the ill-effects of wear and tear. All that stuff at the margins that might make only small differences for an individual player, but could have a really meaningful impact over the full season for a whole team. The Cubs have said many times that they feel like player health – and the impacts from it – is one of those “next wave” areas for some organizations to outperform others.
  • So, I guess what I’m saying is that Kyle Hendricks is gonna make 32 starts, go 215 innings, and accept his Cy Young award in the middle of the final leg of an Iron Man.
  • Speaking of health and the impact on performance, definitely check out Sahadev Sharma’s dive in on Craig Kimbrel and how the Cubs (and pitching coach Tommy Hottovy) are using data to get his mechanics back in line after the knee issue last year. Even setting aside health, it’s a reminder of just how much was not available to Kimbrel last year upon quickly joining the big league team after signing midseason. None of this means he’ll be dominant again in 2020, but at least he’s going to have the full, normal Cubs Spring Training process.
  • Lots and lots of Amazon device deals today. #ad
  • I will have to remember in all future personal interrelations that you do not have to apologize for being caught in a lie, you simply have to retract the statement:

  • Jeff Passan lights ’em up:

  • And so does Cody Bellinger:

  • I also missed this, and I believe every conspiracy theory about the Astros now by default:

  • Random reminder that the Dodgers probably weren’t all clean, either, over the past decade:

  • I feel like this is a Valentine sent out to all Cubs fans:

  • This, too:

  • There are also actual Valentines:

  • The Indians today announced a new signing … and then slipped in some additional news:

  • Clevinger hurt his what now? It might not be as serious as “knee surgery” sounds, but it’s also not yet known how long the Indians will be without one of their most important pitchers:

  • This is almost certainly the hardest I’ve laughed at one of these stupid and awesome things Michael has done:

  • This is the sweet stuff:

  • The podcast is back for the new season, and it’s now free on all your favorite podcasting services:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.