After navigating a long road back to health, Kyle Hendricks is ready for his return to the Chicago Cubs. Back from his own injury issue, Carlos Carrasco aims to halt his early-season struggles for the New York Mets.
Hendricks will make his first appearance in more than 10 months as the Cubs go for a three-game series sweep of the visiting Mets on Thursday night. Carrasco will start for New York.
The lone remaining member of Chicago's 2016 World Series-winning club, Hendricks hasn't been on a big-league mound since July 5, 2022, because of a shoulder injury. However, after ample rehabilitation, minor league work and a bullpen session at Wrigley Field this week, the right-hander will get the ball as the Cubs eye a fourth straight home victory.
"Just exciting to get him back," Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said of Hendricks, who opted against having surgery to repair the capsular tear in his shoulder. "He's the perfect teammate. ...I think everyone's excited to have him back and on the mound here."
The 33-year-old veteran is 87-61 with a 3.46 career ERA in 223 games (222 starts) since breaking in with Chicago in 2014.
Hendricks has fared quite well vs. New York, going 4-0 with a 2.10 ERA in five career regular-season starts. He will look to help the Cubs remain perfect after they held the Mets to two runs in each of the first two games of the series following a 2-7 road trip.
New York entered the current series a winner of five straight. However, starters Tylor Megill and Kodai Senga allowed nine runs, seven earned, over 8 2/3 innings the past two days for the Mets, who have dropped 11 of their past 14 on the road.
Carrasco (0-2, 8.68 ERA) has yielded five or more runs in three of his four starts this season.
The right-hander missed more than a month with elbow inflammation, then returned Friday to allow five runs, including a three-run homer, five hits and two walks over five innings against his former club, the Cleveland Guardians.
Though Carrasco was far from efficient, he yielded just one run in his final three innings.
"It was good to be able to finish my pitches," Carrasco said. "I didn't in the beginning of the season."
Carrasco is 1-1 with a 3.31 ERA in three lifetime starts vs. Chicago. In a small sample size, Nico Hoerner, who homered during the Cubs' 4-2 victory on Wednesday, is 2-for-3 against Carrasco.
Chicago's Christopher Morel, who is 0-for-1 with a walk vs. Carrasco, pushed his season-opening hitting streak to 13 games with an infield single on Wednesday. Morel had homered in each of the previous five games.
New York star Pete Alonso is 0-for-4 against Hendricks but has collected a hit in eight of his past nine games, bashing five homers during that stretch. Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez, who clubbed a two-run homer on Wednesday, is 6-for-13 with three home runs and seven RBIs in his past four contests.
"At the end of the day, I have to stay in control of myself," Alvarez, who is making the most of his opportunity after arriving in the majors late last season, said on SNY. "This at-bat comes down to me."
--Field Level Media