Hendricks back from injury, but Cubs fall to Mets

Hendricks back from injury, but Cubs fall to Mets

CHICAGO — The Cubs activated righty Kyle Hendricks from the injured list in time to start him against the Mets on Thursday, but Chicago lost 10-1 to New York on a chilly night at Wrigley Field.

Hendricks, 32, returned to the mound for the first time since July after recovering from a capsular tear in his right shoulder. He gave up five runs — three earned — and six hits in 4⅓ innings. The right-hander struck out five and walked two in taking the loss.

Hendricks had made five rehab starts at Triple-A this season, compiling a 5.75 ERA over 20⅓ innings.

Hendricks is the lone player left on the roster from the Cubs’ 2016 World Series championship and is in the final year of his contract, though the team holds an option on him for 2024. He has a career 3.46 ERA over the course of his nine years, which includes winning the ERA title in 2016.

Chicago also announced before the game that infielder Nick Madrigal was being optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

Madrigal’s demotion comes as a surprise, as the fourth pick in the 2018 draft was only a year removed from being the Cubs’ starting second baseman. But after the team signed Dansby Swanson — moving Nico Hoerner to second base — Madrigal was left without a position. This season, Madrigal was sharing third base with Patrick Wisdom but only had a .286 on-base percentage with three extra-base hits — and no home runs.

The emergence of Christopher Morel — he hit nine home runs in his first 12 games — made Madrigal’s position vulnerable. The imminent return of center fielder Cody Bellinger (knee) also was going to eat into playing time for Madrigal as Morel will play third when he’s not the designated hitter.

“We’ve got a lot of guys competing for playing time over at third base,” manager David Ross said. “Just not a lot of room for that skill set right now. Just trying to get him back to being able to find his timing and put good swings on the baseball.”

Madrigal was acquired from the White Sox at the 2021 trade deadline and has a career .587 OPS.