Kyle Hendricks was officially activated from the IL on Thursday afternoon ahead of his first start since last July. Rather than undergo potentially career-ending surgery to repair a capsular tear in his right shoulder, Hendricks opted for a rigorous and protracted rehab process that has him throwing harder while also utilizing mechanics aimed at reducing stress on the joint.
In order to make room on the active roster, the Cubs have optioned Nick Madrigal to Triple-A Iowa. The diminutive infielder has played primarily third base this season, an experiment no one initially took seriously, and he actually acquitted himself pretty well with the glove. The bat, however, was a very different story.
Madrigal’s greatest asset has always been his hit tool, which has a future value of 70 on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale. But after batting .249 with a 70 wRC+ in an injury-plagued 2023 season, the 26-year-old is hitting just .247 with a 62 wRC+ through 98 plate appearances this year. His 3.1% walk rate is also the lowest of his career and his .054 ISO is among the lowest in MLB.
He got off to a hot start, batting .345 with a 124 wRC+ through the first two-plus weeks of the season before cooling significantly. In the month since, he batted .203 with a 34 wRC+ and just one walk in 67 PAs. With Christopher Morel hitting the crap out of the ball and both middle infielders healthy again, it just made no sense to keep Madrigal on the roster. Maybe facing Triple-A pitching will ignite a spark and help him to build some confidence.
At the very least, that could spur interest in him as a trade candidate and help him find a place where he can get some everyday reps to maintain a rhythm.