Revamped Conditioning Key For Cubs' Kyle Hendricks

Hendricks felt he tired too easily late in 2019.

Bruce Levine
February 14, 2020 - 2:40 pm
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MESA, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- While his production has been strong over the last few seasons, Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks was nonetheless unhappy with his results and notably his conditioning.

So Hendricks has turned to sports performance and conditioning guru Eric Cressey for some help as he desires to be his best in 2020. Hendricks worked with Cressey this offseason after former Cubs relievers Steve Cishek and Brandon Kintzler made him aware of Cressey's work. Cressey has helped Hendricks strengthen his shoulder and entire body.

Hendricks posted a 3.46 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 30 starts while averaging just shy of six innings per outing in 2019. His goal is to regain his top form of 2016, when he had an MLB-best 2.13. ERA.

"I was hearing from Cishek and Kintzler last year about their offseason routine (with Cressey) and how it enhanced their performances," Hendricks said Friday. "I decided to change trainers and get on this new program. Athletically, I was becoming very mechanical. There wasn't anything smooth and easy about my delivery. My arm path wasn't easy, and I was fatiguing more than I like to at the end of the season -- in particular my lower half."

Hendricks' throwing and conditioning sessions with Cressey were videotaped and shared with the Cubs' coaches and support staff, so they were looped in on his progress. Added strength to Hendricks' shoulders and more flexibility in his lower body were the end results.

Hendricks is looking forward both to getting on the mound himself and working under new manager David Ross, whom he believes is the right leader for the Cubs.

"What we needed was one unifying voice," Hendricks said. "We needed someone to say what is needed to be said and keep the accountability around here. It's clear as day already that Rossy is doing that."

Hendricks knows the Cubs have to lose the complacency that might have crept in with their veterans over the past few seasons after they won the 2016 championship.

"That is part of a winning society," Hendricks said. "Once you get to the top, it's hard to stay there. You can't rest on your laurels. You must be reminded how tough it is and the grind of winning. You must appreciate the process and not taking anything for granted. So sometimes getting a new voice and getting new words from someone can help a lot."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.