It was already a safe bet, once he went on the Injured List, but I think it’s pretty clear that Kyle Hendricks is going to sit down longer this time around than the last time he had a shoulder issue.
First off, the good news: Hendricks did get an MRI, and it revealed no structural damage. So you’re looking at inflammation and/or a more minor muscular issue, which is a whole lot less scary than anything with the labrum or rotator cuff.
Baked in there, though, is the less good news (wouldn’t call it “bad” news, just less good): there is a shoulder strain, which means it’s more than nothing. It also means, for the second time in a month, Hendricks is feeling this kind of shoulder issue that is limiting his ability to pitch as well as he should be.
And since he rested it the first time for two weeks, came back for a couple weeks, and it popped up again, we know that this period of rest is almost certainly going to be much longer than a couple weeks. It’s the Wade Miley situation, and he’s been on the shelf for a month this time, without having yet gotten back on the mound.
In other words, I would be shocked if Hendricks is back on the mound before the August 2 trade deadline. That’s a little bit pending the team’s evaluation back in Chicago, because it’s entirely possible the strain is so minimal that, despite it being a repeat issue, Hendricks can get back on the mound within a few weeks. In that case, you could *MAYBE* see him make one start before the deadline.
How much does it matter, though? I already thought it was extremely unlikely that Hendricks would be traded for a variety of reasons, and now he’s got two shoulder issues on his ledger for the year. That isn’t going to improve his trade value, which was questionable because of the performance the last couple years.
No, I think it always was – and now is even more – likeliest that Hendricks would remain with the Cubs through the year, and he would head into 2023 as the veteran presence on the staff, and a guy you are hoping can be a very solid number five.
The first step is letting Kyle Hendricks rest long enough this time to make sure there are no lingering issues that prevent him from getting his pitching into a good place before the offseason.