How Kyle Hendricks’ understated rise to Cubs ace buoys Cubs’ hopes

How Hendricks’ downplayed increase to ace buoys Cubs’ hopes initially appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The day Kyle Hendricks made his big-league launching, he pitched 6 innings and retired 16 of the last 19 he dealt with. And no one observed.

Well, that’s not totally real. His moms and dads observed. And good friends back house in California, And most likely a couple of previous Dartmouth colleagues.

However his special day, which came at completion of a two-week journey in July 2014, was among 3 major-league launchings for the Cubs on simply that journey alone throughout their restoring season, was enabled just due to the fact that the Cubs had actually traded Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the rotation 6 days previously, and was more eclipsed by a bench-clearing occurrence that started when Anthony Rizzo tossed his glove to the ground and pursued the whole Reds’ dugout by himself — among the most memorable images in current Cubs history.

Kyle who?

“Definitely a lot of things have changed since my first year with the Cubs,” Hendricks stated.

Among the greatest for the Cubs: Hendricks’ stature.

A nondescript A-ball pitcher when the Cubs obtained him from Texas at the 2012 trade due date for Ryan Dempster, Hendricks hasn’t recalled because that 2014 launching.

He has actually been an extremely constant component in the rotation because that day, with a 3.13 PERIOD to reveal for 174 profession begins, a PERIOD title in 2016 followed by a Video game 7 World Series begin, his very first Opening Day project last summer season, and — as he opens his 8th season with the Cubs — the title of last-man-standing ace of the new-look pitching personnel.

Simply just how much things have actually altered will appear April 1 when Hendricks makes his 2nd opening start, ahead of previous coach Jake Arrieta — who’s back after a three-year stint with the Phillies on a one-year offer that was completed Wednesday.

“I just saw him two days ago in the locker room, and we both kind of said it was weird,” Hendricks stated. “It was like no time ever passed. I don’t know where those three years went. It’s almost like he never left.”

The Cubs state they’re relying on Arrieta, at 35, to offer a positive, experienced clubhouse existence that’s in brief supply after an exodus of veteran beginners over the winter season.

However for all of Arrieta’s swagger and big-game, Cy Young history, make no error: this is Hendricks’ personnel, for the very first time in his profession, whether he takes a look at it that method or not.

“It’s hard to look back at all that right now. I’ve always been someone trying to work as hard as I can and never stop,” he stated. “I don’t really know where my [ceiling] is at the top. So I just want to keep going, try and be as good as I can be, get the most out of my career.”

If the Cubs get the full-season work out of him that he states he’s prepared to pitch, thanks to an energetic program throughout in 2015’s shutdown prior to the pandemic-shortened season, his efficiency may reach anybody’s on the group towards the Cubs’ effort in protecting their 2020 department title.

If anybody believes that seems like included pressure, supervisor David Ross states reconsider.

“Some guys you would have to worry about that. Kyle’s definitely not that guy,” Ross stated. “Mentally, he’s very strong and stable and knows who he is.”

What’s specific is that he’s one of the couple of pitchers left on the personnel fans will referred to as things get in progress this spring after a cost-cutting winter season that consisted of discarding the last 3 years of Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish’s agreement in a trade with the Padres and the totally free representative departures of veterans Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood.

However Hendricks, 31, stated he’s all set, therefore does his profession history — consisting of that 103-pitch nothing versus the Pirates in in 2015’s opener.

“The great thing about Kyle is he was around Jake in his prime and around Jon Lester in the championship run and has grown from being around those guys,” Ross stated. “So a lot of the qualities that we’ll be missing in Jon and we were missing last year in Jake, that we get back, Kyle has taken on a lot of that.

“He’s got a presence about him. He’s got a work ethic. He’s a great teammate. And he’s unfazed in the moment.”


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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.