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Hendricks faces formidable hitting trio

MESA, Ariz. -- This is Kyle Hendricks' first big league camp, and the right-hander, who was the Cubs' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2013, was challenged right away in his first live batting-practice session.

Hendricks had to face Anthony Rizzo, Welington Castillo and Starlin Castro, the club's top hitters.

"It's a pleasure to face them," Hendricks said Thursday. "You want to get tested, see where you're at."

Rizzo looked as if he was trying to clear the right-field fence and launch a ball onto the top of the batting cages with one swing against Hendricks.

"He was trying to get me -- that's bragging rights when you're facing your teammates like that," Hendricks said. "I threw some good pitches -- that was a good one, too. They're good hitters and you have to expect that sometimes."

It was a good test for Hendricks, who was a combined 13-4 with a 2.00 ERA in 27 starts last season with Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.

"When you see those guys coming up, you've got to compete," he said. "You're trying to work on stuff out there, but you also want to show what you can do against the best hitters."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
Read More: Chicago Cubs, Kyle Hendricks