CHICAGO — After being spotted at the ballpark at the beginning of the team’s series with the Mets, many wondered when “The Professor” would return to the mound.
David Ross had that answer on Wednesday evening after the Cubs’ 4-2 win over the Mets.
“Kyle will pitcher tomorrow,” said the manager, as the longest-tenured player on the club gets set to make his return on Thursday.
Kyle Hendricks will take the mound in the final game of the series against New York on Thursday night at 6:40 p.m. at Wrigley Field. It will be his first start since July 5, 2022, when he was forced out of the game that night against the Brewers after three innings.
It turns out he’d suffered a capsular tear in his right shoulder and wouldn’t pitch for the rest of the season. Hendricks didn’t have surgery to fix it, opting to rest it during the offseason, and then began rehab work this spring.
The pitcher was officially sent to Triple-A Iowa on April 27 and made five appearances with that club, going 2-1 with a 5.75 ERA with 20 strikeouts compared to six walks.
Hendricks hopes to return to form after an inconsistent 2022 season in which he dealt with the shoulder injury. Featuring a collection of strong outings but more ones where he was off his game, the pitcher finished 4-6 with a 4.80 ERA with 66 strikeouts compared to 24 walks in 16 games.
Acquired in the Ryan Dempster trade to the Rangers in 2012, Hendricks made his debut for the Cubs in 2014 and has pitched in 223 regular season games for the team. He’s 87-61 with an overall ERA of 3.46, finishing third for the National League Cy Young Award in 2016 when he led Major League Baseball with a 2.13 ERA.
In 12 playoff contests, Hendricks has a 3.12 ERA, getting the win in the National League Pennant-clinching Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. He also started Game 3 & Game 7 of the 2016 World Series against Cleveland.