Per the update earlier in the week, Kyle Hendricks was getting another MRI to see if the time away from throwing had allowed his shoulder strain to fully heal so that he could start throwing. Unfortunately, it hasn’t yet.
“Just showing that he’s getting better,” David Ross said of the MRI results, per NBC. “Probably needs a little bit more rest. There’s still some inflammation in there. They’re going to reassess in about a week and just see where that’s at.”
So if there’s still inflammation, and if Hendricks is completely shut down for another week at a minimum, it gets increasingly unlikely that he will return to make big league starts by the end of the year. I can make the math work, sure, but at this point, how aggressive are the Cubs going to want to be? Just so that Hendricks can make a start or two before the offseason? It’s not like he’s a young guy where you want every possible inning for evaluation/offseason prep work. You more or less know what Hendricks is at this point in his career when he’s healthy. Maybe the best approach, then, is to just let him rest all the way into the offseason. Then he starts a normal throwing program from there.
We’ll see what happens, and how the Cubs approach the rotation in the offseason. I think it would be fair for the Cubs to act as though Hendricks is “locked in” as one of their six or seven starting pitching options, but it would be unreasonable – for reasons of injury, and also performance the last couple years – to proceed as though Hendricks is locked into a front half of the rotation spot.