Chicago manager David Ross said Hendricks had a "phenomenal" early part of spring, Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Ross was expecting a big season out of the righty, though it's unclear when that season will be able to begin due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hendricks posted a 3.46 ERA in 177 innings (30 starts) for the Cubs last year, his fourth straight sub-3.50 ERA season. The 30-year-old doesn't post eye-popping strikeout totals, but he's still one of the most consistent and effective starters in the National League.
Hendricks is competing with Yu Darvish to start in Chicago's Opening Day game against the Brewers, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Chicago skipper David Ross is refusing to commit to an Opening Day arm this early in spring training. Hendricks has been very sharp to begin camp, posting a dominant 1.00 ERA and 0.44 WHIP across nine innings. The 30-year-old has surpassed Jon Lester in the Cubs' starting rotation, but it has yet to be determined where teammate Yu Darvish will be slotted after dealing with an illness to begin spring. Hendricks sported a 3.46 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 150:32 K:BB across 177 innings (30 starts) for the Cubs in 2019.
Hendricks allowed one run over four innings in Saturday's Cactus League game against Cleveland. He gave up two hits and a walk while striking out four. The run was actually the first allowed by Hendricks in nine innings this spring, and the righty is sporting an impressive 0.44 WHIP to go along with his 1.00 ERA. Yu Darvish and Jon Lester appear to be the top candidates to start on Opening Day, but Hendricks is right behind them in the pecking order, and the 30-year-old will be a key member of the rotation no matter where he slots in.
Hendricks tossed three perfect innings with three strikeouts in Monday's Cactus League game against the Angels. Hendricks has been dialed in to begin the spring, as he's allowed just one hit and no runs in his first five innings of work. Yu Darvish and Jon Lester might grab more headlines in Chicago, but Hendricks has been outstanding for the Cubs since his debut in 2014. Last season, the righty posted a 3.46 ERA and 1.13 WHIP across 177 innings of work, and similar numbers should be expected in 2020 from one of the league's most consistent starters.
Hendricks said he worked on strengthening his legs, as well as his right shoulder and back, in the offseason to build more stability in his delivery, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Hendricks noted that fatigue set in toward the end of his 2019 campaign, and he blamed instability in the lower half of his body for the issue. The right-hander logged 177 innings last year, down from the 199 he posted in 2018. Hendricks said he hopes the offseason conditioning helps him reach 200 innings, a mark he has yet to hit in his six-year MLB career.
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