While Jameson Taillon continued to struggle at the big-league level on Saturday, some reinforcements and familiar arms took the bump in Indianapolis for the Iowa Cubs. Kyle Hendricks was on the mound for the first game of the doubleheader in what was presumably his final rehab appearance, while recently demoted Hayden Wesneski took the mound in game two.
The results were exactly what Cub fans were hoping for.
Class was in session in the early affair, which was a vintage Hendricks performance. The Professor went six strong innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits while striking out six with no walks. He even recorded one of his patented pick-offs, erasing a runner at first base.
Hendricks sat 87-89 mph for most of the night with his fastball, touching 90 a few times. He kept hitters off balance with his changeup and mixed in a few more curveballs as the game progressed. He even made Pirates prospect Endy Rodriguez look silly multiple times
Kyle Hendricks getting ready for his next rehab start, as Wesneski and Brown look on. pic.twitter.com/5W6vrMtFwZ
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) May 20, 2023
The righty now owns a 1.69 ERA in his last three starts at Iowa and has gone 5+ innings in each of those outings. He looks ready to rock, possibly late next week at Wrigley Field.
“I feel really good,” Hendricks said after the game. “We’ll see how everything feels tomorrow and go from there. Whenever they want me up, I’ll be ready to step right in.”
Hendricks also had high praise for Miguel Amaya and was most excited about getting stronger as the game went on.
Got to chat with Kyle Hendricks after his rehab outing. Class was in session tonight. pic.twitter.com/p4BEv7hIUm
— Tyler Smith (@TylerSmith_ISL) May 21, 2023
Though it won’t last much longer, it’s fun to look at the current rotation for the Iowa Cubs. That group consists of Hendricks, Wesneski, Ben Brown, Javier Assad, and Caleb Kilian, making the Triple-A starting five more relevant and exciting to follow than in recent years. Even with the promotions of Matt Mervis, and Christopher Morel, and the pending call for Hendricks, there are multiple storylines to follow each and every night.
With the big league rotation still short a man, look for The Professor to return to Wrigley for a start on Thursday or Friday next week.