Hendricks showing progress
PEORIA, Ariz. — Part of coming back from a long injury is learning to trust that part of the body again, not worrying that throwing hard will bring back the shoulder pain. But Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks said he’s well past that point.
‘‘It was a really good day,’’ Hendricks said after throwing his first full bullpen session Monday since July. ‘‘Just to open it up a little bit and still feel really good shoulder wise, that’s No. 1. Felt really, really good, so that’s really promising.’’
Hendricks (capsular tear in right shoulder) had thrown three light — or ‘‘touch-and-feel’’ — bullpens to begin his progression on the mound. On Monday, however, he was working at 100% effort and threw 25 pitches.
‘‘The first six to eight of them were more than 100% for me, almost,’’ Hendricks said. ‘‘So that’s one of the things we’re trying to do — trying to get my body to open up a little bit, get uncomfortable, then reel it back in and get back to doing what I do.’’
He mixed fastballs and changeups in his session. He has been throwing curveballs on flat ground and expects to integrate them into bullpens come Friday or Monday.
Hendricks is scheduled to throw about 10 bullpens — what he would throw in a normal offseason — before starting to throw live batting practice. That would have him throwing those around the second week of April.
‘‘Could be a little less, could be a little more, not sure,’’ Hendricks said. ‘‘They want me to be me, see how it goes one after another, get the feedback from the catcher, see where I’m at.’’
After that, he still will have to build up his workload and go on a rehab assignment.
Before Hendricks had a more specific diagnosis, he blew past one target date after another without throwing last season. But since starting his throwing program Dec. 1, he has hit every checkpoint on time.
‘‘It’s really encouraging to have a plan and be able to stick to it this whole way through,’’ he said. ‘‘I wouldn’t see it really changing from here on out.’’