Kyle Hendricks took the mound in Mesa to throw a “touch-and-feel” bullpen, his first since being shut down last July with a capsular tear in his throwing shoulder. The righty has been working to build strength in order to add velocity and overcome residual issues from that chronic injury, but he’s also made some mechanical changes.
— Ryan Herrera (@ryan_a_herrera) February 24, 2023
“It feels drastic to me yet it might look subtle,” Hendricks said back in January. “I don’t want to get too short because that’s kind of too far the opposite way. So it’s more making sure I get the ball out of my glove and stay long enough but then just get it right up to my ear. That’s really where my strong position is anyway.
“I can tell how healthy I feel and how good my shoulder feels when I do it the right way.”
Everything looks pretty similar through his windup and break, but it does appear as though he’s shortened his arm stroke from the point of full extension into layback, release, and follow-through. The caveat here is that he isn’t going with full intent and there could be some differences as a result. Here are some other angles with a tighter shot if you’d like to see more.
Kyle Hendricks throws his first bullpen of the spring. pic.twitter.com/BXeJ4WiB12
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) February 24, 2023
Hendricks said recently that he believes he’s only about a month behind where he’d be in a normal spring, though I find that hard to believe given how long he was shut down. As good as it is to see him back out on the mound, I’m reserving optimism until we see something more significant. Shoulders issues are just so difficult to come back from, and we’re not talking about a guy who was pitching well prior to getting hurt.