Awaiting Hendricks' status, Cubs 'have flexibility'

Righty throws 'pen session, would be preferable choice to start Game 2 at Wrigley

Awaiting Hendricks' status, Cubs 'have flexibility'

CHICAGO -- Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks threw a bullpen session on Thursday, and if the right-hander passes all the tests, he is expected to start Game 2 of the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers on Sunday (8 p.m. ET/7 CT, FS1).

Hendricks took a line drive off his right arm in Game 2 of the NL Division Series against the Giants and did not play catch until Tuesday in San Francisco. As he walked off the field at AT&T Park, Hendricks said he was "good to go."

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"I know that Jon Lester is going to pitch the first game, and we're waiting to find out about Kyle and then we'll go from there," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Thursday.

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 15 CHC 8, LAD 4 video
Gm 2 Oct. 16 LAD 1, CHC 0 video
Gm 3 Oct. 18 LAD 6, CHC 0 video
Gm 4 Oct. 19 CHC 10, LAD 2 video
Gm 5 Oct. 20 CHC 8, LAD 4 video
Gm 6 Oct. 22 CHC 5, LAD 0 video

The Cubs would prefer to have Hendricks start at Wrigley Field rather than on the road because of the right-hander's success at home this year. He was 9-2 with a Major League-leading 1.32 ERA at home this season.

If Hendricks can't start Sunday, the Cubs could easily go with Jake Arrieta, who started Monday in Game 3 against the Giants.

"We have some flexibility there," general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday.

• Maddon and the front office will meet Friday to discuss their options for the NLCS roster. The Cubs carried 11 pitchers in the NLDS, and they needed every one of them after a 13-inning contest in Game 3.

"We debated 11 vs. 12 a lot before the last series, and I'm sure we'll have the same debate," Hoyer said. "There's parts of the last series that pushed for both. There were moments when you were glad you had the extra position player."

Left-hander Mike Montgomery rescued the Cubs in Game 3, pitching four innings in relief, and reinforced the need for a long man.

Montgomery strikes out Gillaspie

"No one played themselves off the roster," Hoyer said. "If we have to make changes, it's because we have to have a different mix."

Hoyer joked that there was "lots of yelling" in the meetings about the roster prior to the NLDS. He expected Friday's session to be quicker.

"The first one to get to this point was a lot of back and forth," he said. "I think it's one decision now, whether we want to do 12 or 11 [pitchers], depending on the opponent. We want to make sure everyone is ready to go."

• The Cubs batted .200 in the four-game NLDS, and they got six of their 17 total RBIs from their pitchers.

"We struggled at the plate in that series," Hoyer said. "Three RBI from Jake [Arrieta], two from Kyle, one from [Travis Wood] -- that's not the production we're expecting going into the series. It felt like in Game 4, we were pressing a little bit. Maybe that rally [in the ninth inning] was what we needed to open the floodgates."

Cubs rally in the 9th

The Cubs scored four runs in the ninth inning of Game 4 to post a 6-5 win over the Giants and capture the series.

"It was nice to know we could win that series knowing we didn't play our best offense," Hoyer said.

• Getting to the NLCS is a first for Jason Heyward. He had played in the postseason in 2010, '12, '13 and '15, but he had never advanced this far.

"This is a new one for me," Heyward said. "I'm looking forward to going through it with these guys."

And Heyward promised to have fried chicken delivered on Friday, which he took care of last week before the NLDS began.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.