Monday, May 20, 2024

Seiya Suzuki and Kyle Hendricks Are Closer to Returning

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Opening Day is a week away and although Seiya Suzuki and Kyle Hendricks are both going to stay behind in Arizona when the rest of the team heads north to start the season, both players are getting closer to returning.

Fans knew since the offseason that Hendricks wasn’t going to be ready for the beginning of the 2023 season, as he was still working back from his shoulder issues that sidelined him for the entire second half last year. He’s been throwing bullpen sessions in Cubs camp and he’s on the verge of finally facing live hitters.

Hendricks will continue his stint in Arizona and stay for extended spring training. If he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, then Hendricks is expected to be ready to come back to the Cubs by the first week of May.

The other positive note is that the veteran right-handed pitcher is past the rehab part of his recovery and is now in an actual spring training mindset down in Mesa, Ariz.

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Because of the shoulder issues, Hendricks was behind when pitchers and catchers reported to Cubs camp in February, but he’s progressing normally now.

Via The Athletic.

But at the moment, he’s throwing bullpens every Monday and Friday and going at 100 percent effort.

Hendricks said his velocity is back to where it once was and he’s throwing all his pitches in these bullpens. The shortened arm action is now second nature and he’s as healthy as he’s been in a while. His hope was to get in some extended spring action, hopefully get in a few minor-league games and that by May he’d be ready to return to the big-league team.

Hendricks is in the final guaranteed year of his contract with the Cubs. It’ll be interesting to see how Hendricks performs and if he can remain healthy when he does return to the team, which already has a lot of starting pitching depth. Nevertheless, it’s great to see that Hendricks is making these positive strides in Cubs camp.

Meanwhile, we pretty much knew that right fielder Seiya Suzuki would start the season on the injured list as he continues to recover from an oblique strain. He hasn’t played in spring training games thus far and he was forced to sit out of the World Baseball Classic because of the injury. However, Suzuki has been making progress in Arizona.

It started with Suzuki taking dry swings and playing long toss in the past week to running the bases and hitting in the cage on Wednesday.

While it is great to see Suzuki slowly but surely getting back to baseball activities, you also want the Cubs to be as cautious as possible. Yeah, it sucks that he won’t be with the team for at least a couple weeks to begin the regular season, but it would be much more catastrophic if Suzuki aggravates his oblique strain and is forced to miss even more time.

There is no question how much Suzuki makes the Cubs lineup better. Despite his struggles in different parts of 2022, he was still one of the few good hitters on the team and his projections for this year made him a clear breakout candidate.

So, Suzuki will most likely stay behind with Hendricks for some time in Arizona before heading out on rehab assignments in the minors and then hopefully there aren’t any hiccups and both can return to the big league club fully healthy.

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Faye Spring
Faye Spring
Mar 22, 2023 1:36 pm

CIM

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