Kyle Hendricks

Cubs' Kyle Hendricks reacts to bullpen demotion in stride

Hendricks is 0-4 across seven starts with a 10.57 ERA in 2024

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After a career-worst start to the season that includes a 10.57 ERA across seven starts with an 0-4 record, former staff ace Kyle Hendricks will now be pitching out of the bullpen, Cubs manager Craig Counsell told reporters Tuesday.

The change comes on the heels of an injured list stint that was followed by two starts with mixed results in May.

Hendricks reacted to the managerial decision before Wednesday's contest against the Braves.

"We all know what's been going on," he told reporters in the dugout. "Just trying trying to give the team the best chance to win at the end of the day. And that's all I'm trying to be about, too, so I'm honestly excited for the opportunity and the challenge in a way."

After allowing just two hits and one run with four walks and five strikeouts against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 12, Hendricks was shelled by the same club at Wrigley Field five days later.

Allowing 11 hits and seven earned runs in 4.2 innings, the start maintained Hendricks' season-long double-digit ERA, leading to the veteran's demotion. He wasn't surprised by the decision.

"You expect something to happen," he said. "It was just going terrible, obviously. You can't put up those kind of results. We're in a 'win now' kind of mode, and that's exactly where I wanna be. I wanna be part of a team that's winning. I just wanna be doing my part to contribute to that winning. I wasn't doing that.

"Hopefully I can work on the things I need to work on, turn it around and just help the team get some wins."

Counsell told reporters that the length of Hendricks' bullpen gig will be taken "day-by-day."

"The goal still is to get Kyle on track and get him back in the rotation."

Hendricks, though, said he's taking it one pitch at a time. His goal right now is to focus on his process, and he believes this bullpen stint will help simplify his game.

"Not having the full start ahead of you, trying to get deep into a game or anything like that. Literally just taking it one pitch at a time, one batter at a time, trying to get one out."

Opting into a $16.5 million deal for 2024, Hendricks has appeared out of the bullpen just once in the regular season across 11 big-league seasons.

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