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Hendricks glad to be back, aims to keep building

Righty looks to return to routine after tossing 4 1/3 in first start after DL stint
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Kyle Hendricks was back on the mound on Monday, but it wasn't quite a return to normalcy.

Making his first start back with the Cubs after an extended disabled-list stint, the right-hander worked 4 1/3 innings with one run allowed in a 3-1 loss to the White Sox at Wrigley Field. And while he said it was good to be starting again, Hendricks wasn't as pleased with how he threw, which fell back on the irregularity surrounding his outing.

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CHICAGO -- Kyle Hendricks was back on the mound on Monday, but it wasn't quite a return to normalcy.

Making his first start back with the Cubs after an extended disabled-list stint, the right-hander worked 4 1/3 innings with one run allowed in a 3-1 loss to the White Sox at Wrigley Field. And while he said it was good to be starting again, Hendricks wasn't as pleased with how he threw, which fell back on the irregularity surrounding his outing.

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"Just too many innings today for the bullpen to cover, really. That's my fault," Hendricks said of the loss. "I think that's just a factor of me getting in my routine, getting in my bullpen routine, throwing again every day, just getting my legs back underneath me.

"Being on five days [moving forward] I think suits me a lot better. It's just more normalcy in a way."

While Hendricks noted he felt "great" health-wise, the Cubs still wanted to be careful not to tax him too much. Before the game, manager Joe Maddon said they'd take things on an inning-by-inning basis, and they would be careful not to leave him out too long.

"I mean, I'm not going to just let him stay out there forever, but we'll just see how it goes," Maddon said before the game.

Hendricks finished the fourth at 78 pitches. By that point he'd already run into a bit of trouble, having allowed six hits, but he'd also rung up four to keep the White Sox off the board.

Video: CWS@CHC: Hendricks fans Cabrera early in the 1st

"We didn't have a real thick bullpen today," Maddon said. "I didn't want to press it too soon. If he was able to get through five, it would've really helped us a lot right there."

In the bottom of the fourth, Hendricks' spot came up to bat. With one on and two out, the pitcher hit for himself, but he grounded out to opposing pitcher Miguel Gonzalez to end the inning. He returned for the fifth, when the White Sox finally broke through.

Melky Cabrera led off with a single that crept into the outfield. Hendricks struck out Yoan Moncada for out No. 1, but he served up a 3-1 pitch right over the middle of the zone in the next at-bat to Jose Abreu, who knocked it into right for an RBI double.

Video: CWS@CHC: Abreu plates Cabrera with a double

"It was fun being out there, fun playing, but it didn't really go the way I wanted it to go," Hendricks said. "Fastball command was terrible, and that's kind of where everything stems from for me."

Hendricks allowed eight hits on the day, but only one run as Justin Grimm replaced him and notched the final two outs of the fifth. Hendricks noted there were some adjustments he needed to make, but that didn't mean the game was without any silver linings.

"He was not what you would call 'on.' He'd be the first one to tell you that," Maddon said. "But he threw [92] pitches, which is good to get him stretched out moving into the next start. The fact that he got out of there with one run -- I was really pleased with that, too. It's just a good outing to build off of."

Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago Cubs, Kyle Hendricks