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Chicago Cubs Pitching Woes: Alzolay Out Two Weeks, Hendricks to Bullpen, Injury Updates on Wicks, Smyly

There has been a ton of news around the Chicago Cubs pitching staff over the last few days. With injury news, massive moves of World Champions, and what is happening with the people's fist. Here's the latest with the Cubs pitchers.

Alzolay To Be Re-Revaluated in Two Weeks

2024 has been a 180 turn for the worse for Adbert Alzolay compared to his 2023 season. After blowing just three saves in 2023 (22-for-25), Alzolay blew five games in nine chances with a 1-4 record and a 4.67 ERA. After all of that, he was placed on the IL on May 13 with a flexor strain, and things seem to be getting worse with the injury.

Hopefully, with the extra time off, surgery won't be required, and Alzoay can be ramped up in time for sometime in June.

Kyle Hendricks Moved to the Bullpen

A move that I have been suggesting to my fellow Cubs beat writer Brayden Conrad finally happened: Kyle Hendricks has been moved to the bullpen.

The regression I feared in the off-season has come to fruition, as Hendricks has a 10.57 ERA in seven starts. The Cubs are 2-5 in those seven starts and he has only completed five innings twice, In his 11-year career with Chicago, he has only made one relief appearance in 2016. In that one appearance, Hendricks went two scoreless innings against the then 29-55 Atlanta Braves in a 4-3 loss in 11 innings.

Always the consummate pro, Hendricks is taking this demotion in stride.

Wicks and Smyly Getting Close to Returning, Merryweather Eyeing June

Despite some of the negative news around some of the other Cubs pitchers, some major positives are coming the Cubs' way on the injury front. A couple of left-handers, Drew Smyly and Jordan Wicks, are inching closer to making their return to the staff. According to Craig Counsell, Wicks threw a bullpen session on Tuesday and will make a rehab start soon, while Smyly pitched three perfect innings with five strikeouts in high A South Bend and will be active by next week.

“The day went very well for Drew,” Craig Counsell said. “He pitched great, felt good. Still determining next steps with Drew. I think we’re probably considering another outing but we’ll just kind of see how that goes."

Daniel Palencia has made a few rehab appearances in AAA Iowa, but he will likely remain down there for a bit to get right. Julian Merryweather is slowly working to get back to throwing progression, but he is still six weeks away from coming back from his rib stress fracture.

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