video thumbnail

CHC@CIN: Hendricks fans seven in Major League debut

Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks has already survived his first Major League challenge -- he was serviceable in his July 10 MLB debut in Cincinnati, surrendering four runs in six innings while dealing with a tight strike zone.

"I thought he handled it well," said Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio. "I thought he handled it better than I did. I was at a point where I felt I was going to get thrown out trying to battle for your pitcher. He battled and he persevered and hung in there. That's what you have to do as a young pitcher."

Now, Hendricks will move on to his second challenge -- his first career start at Wrigley Field in Tuesday night's series opener against the Padres.

Hendricks, who was 10-5 with a 3.59 ERA at Triple-A Iowa, has earned the confidence of his pitching coach, who admires Hendricks' ability to adjust to his opposition.

"The one thing I see with Kyle is he has the ability to get a feel for the game quick, the approach other teams are trying to do against him," Bosio said. "It's going to be a challenge for him. It'll be his first game at Wrigley, not knowing the league, the league not knowing him."

Hendricks will face off against Padres left-hander Eric Stults, who leads the National League with 11 losses and is 3-11 with a 4.98 ERA. But Stults has mostly pitched well of late, posting a 2.59 ERA in his last four starts.

His last outing was nearly two weeks ago on July 9, a loss to Colorado that saw him give up three solo homers, two in the first inning.

"First inning, first batter, I fell behind, 1-0, and didn't want to fall behind, 2-0," Stults said after the game. "[Charlie Blackmon is] pretty aggressive for a leadoff hitter. With [Troy Tulowitzki], I was trying to throw my fastball off the plate. In that first inning, I was just sort of missing my spots with the fastball. My fastball location today was pretty average."

Stults isn't the first pitcher to give up multiple homers in Coors Field, but it's part of a larger disturbing trend for the southpaw this year.

He's allowed 18 home runs in 99 1/3 innings, third most in the NL, after giving up 19 in 203 2/3 innings last year. His ERA is also the third highest in the NL.

Padres: Grandal's shifted stance paying dividends
Padres catcher/first baseman Yasmani Grandal has seen positive results in July after adopting more of an upright stance last month to alleviate discomfort in his surgically repaired right knee.

"We worked a ton, changing my whole batting stance and trying to get in a good spot so the knee doesn't get any stress on it," Grandal said. "Just standing up a little bit more, making sure my foot is down in a good spot and trying to stay on my back leg a little bit more. Usually those are things you do in the offseason, but we had to make the changes for health reasons."

The switch-hitting catcher is heating up with three homers in July, including two in his past two games.

"You never know when [the pain] is gonna come back," Grandal said. "You just take the new stance and make it your own."

Cubs: Renteria not focused on trades
Hendricks is in the second-half starting rotation largely due to the trade of Cubs starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics.

With the non-waiver Trade Deadline looming July 31, more moves could be awaiting, but that's not something manager Rick Renteria is dwelling on.

"That's a great question of which I have no answer to," Renteria said Saturday. "At this point in time, I don't try to speculate."

The Cubs have a surplus of infielders, especially with Arismendy Alcantara's solid start. Right now, Renteria is focused on the current 25-man roster.

"Nothing surprises me," Renteria said. "We prepare for everything, but [trades are] not something I'm thinking about."

Worth noting
• Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada will start for the Cubs on Wednesday.

• Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso (DL, right wrist tendinitis) will join Triple-A El Paso on Monday. He played two games for the team's entry in the Arizona League and hit a home run on Saturday. Comments