By: Nick Roark
The Tennessee Smokies lost their ace pitcher Kyle Hendricks Friday afternoon as the right-hander was added to the Mesa Cubs roster with a likely move to Triple-A Iowa in the coming days. In 21 starts for Double-A Tennessee, Hendricks went 10-3 with a 1.85 ERA, 101 strikeouts and 26 walks.
“I hope there’s not going to be much of an adjustment,” Hendricks said of potentially facing the Pacific Coast League. “It’s supposed to be the same game. I’ve just got to stay in my same routine and stay in my same five-day [routine], throw my bullpens the same, just pitch the hitters the same way I’ve been doing [in Tennessee],” Hendricks said.
Sent to the Cubs organization in the Ryan Dempster deal at the trade deadline in 2012 along with Smokies’ third baseman Christian Villanueva, Hendricks experienced his best professional season with Tennessee. The former Dartmouth standout proved dominant at Smokies Park, going 5-1 with a 0.68 ERA (5 ER/ 66 IP) in 10 starts.
“Usually I try to throw the ball over the plate; I don’t walk anyone,” Hendricks said of his success this season. “I think that’s been the biggest thing.”
Drafted in the eighth round by the Texas Rangers in the 2011 MLB Draft, Hendricks’ stellar 2013 campaign earned the California native his first All-Star start for the Southern League’s North Division team on July 17.
“[Kyle’s] a creature of habit,” Smokies pitcher and Hendricks’ roommate Dallas Beeler said. “You just would have never saw it coming that you’re going to have a guy on the team that has sub-two ERA with a month left in the season,” Beeler said.
Beeler attributed his roommate’s success to Hendricks’ ability to locate his fastball and breaking pitches.
“He doesn’t go off schedule on anything and then in his bullpens, if he throws 25 pitches, he’s hitting 18 spots not missing,” Beeler said. “The biggest thing for him in his success is moving the ball around but then throwing each pitch side to side each side of the plate.”
Dayan Diaz has been added to the Tennessee roster who pitched for the Smokies Friday evening. Diaz made six appearances for the Daytona Cubs this season accumulating a 0-1 record with a 2.45 ERA and one save. With the addition of Diaz, the Cubs’ Double-A roster stands at 25.
To stay current with all the latest news, follow Smokies on Radio on Twitter and like the Smokies on Radio Facebook page. Nick Roark is the Senior Beat Writer for the Smokies Radio Network. You can follow him on Twitter here: NickRoark4.