Cubs' Hendricks returns to start opener vs. White Sox (Jul 24, 2017)

BY AP • July 24, 2017

CHICAGO -- Kyle Hendricks is rested and ready as he returns to the Chicago Cubs' rotation on Monday for a start in the series opener against the Chicago White Sox.

Sidelined for seven weeks due to right hand tendinitis, the right-hander said he made profitable use of the time.

"I used it to get my body in shape, kept my cardio going, kept my shoulder work, so my arm is strong," Hendricks said. "I tried to take every positive out of it that I could."

Hendricks (4-3, 4.09 ERA) faces White Sox right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (4-9, 4.89 ERA) in the first of four games between the city rivals, starting with a pair of day games at Wrigley Field.

Hendricks, who had the National League's lowest ERA (2.13) in 2016, has a ways to go to match that number. He is not raising his expectations for his first start since June 4.

"Time will tell, but obviously right now with the way things went, my finger is feeling good," Hendricks said. "Obviously, I would have liked to come back sooner, but I'm glad we took the course we did and hopefully it can pay off later down the road."

The Cubs (51-46) have been on a roll since returning from the All-Star break. They have won eight of nine, including a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday that propelled them into a first-place tie with the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

The White Sox (38-57) have lost nine straight and own the American League's worst record. They have shed several veterans in trades for prospects as the organization does a wholesale rebuild.

It is a familiar role for White Sox manager Rick Renteria, who oversaw a similar reconstruction project while managing the Cubs in 2014 before his dismissal when current manager Joe Maddon became available.

The Monday game will be Renteria's first visit to Wrigley Field as White Sox manager, but he was at the North Side ballpark last year while serving as bench coach under former manager Robin Ventura.

Renteria said last week that it will be a "bittersweet" return.

"This is where I got my first managing opportunity," he said. "But I really take away fond memories from being there, and now I happen to be on the South Side."

Gonzalez enters play Monday 1-9 with a 6.24 ERA over his past 10 starts. He has allowed five runs or more in six of those outings. He is 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA in two career starts against the Cubs, receiving a no-decision at home on July 25, 2016.

Hendricks is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three career starts against the White Sox. He gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings on the South Side on July 26, 2016.

The White Sox and Cubs split four games last year, with each team winning two at home.

The White Sox lead the all-time series, 57-51. The teams are 27-27 at Wrigley Field.

No matter the records, Hendricks is looking forward to the heightened attention the rivalry week brings.

"A lot of Cubs (fans) nowadays, but still all of the White Sox fans out there, too," he said. "It's always fun. Getting to drive down to the South Side too, go to that ballpark, it's fun for us. Kind of a home game in a way."



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