Home World Kyle Hendricks embracing his new bullpen role

Kyle Hendricks embracing his new bullpen role


Five minutes before the first pitch Tuesday evening, Kyle Hendricks trekked to the bullpen as the line of Chicago Cubs relievers made the familiar journey to their in-game home beneath the left-field bleachers.

Hendricks is embracing his move to the bullpen and everything that comes with it. For the last two nights, that’s meant being locked into every pitch with the other eight relievers in the bullpen waiting for the phone to ring with his number called.

“I’m honestly excited for the opportunity and the challenge in a way,” Hendricks said pregame Wednesday. “A big opportunity obviously to try to turn things around, still trying to work on things and get some game action, and just try and contribute to help the team win any way I can.”

Hendricks, 34, has pitched in relief only twice in his 11 big-league seasons spanning 266 total games: two shutout innings on July 7, 2016, against Atlanta and 1 1/3 innings in the National League wild-card game on Oct. 2, 2018, versus Colorado when he took the loss in extra innings.

After putting up a 10.57 ERA in seven starts this season, Hendricks expected something to happen. He wasn’t surprised by the Cubs’ decision.

“It was just going terrible, obviously, you can’t put up those kind of results,” Hendricks said. “We’re in win-now mode and that’s exactly where I want to be. I want to be part of a team that’s winning. I just want to be doing my part to contribute to that winning. I wasn’t doing that so now hopefully little reshape of focus and perspective, see something new out there.”

Asked whether it’s his goal to start again, Hendricks simplified it even further. He just wants to make good pitches and see positive results. Hendricks was, unsurprisingly, upbeat during the 12 minutes on Wednesday when he discussed the change. Part of why the Cubs continue to believe in Hendricks’ ability to turn around his season is because of what they see from him every day on and off the field.

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