Hendricks cleared for NLCS Game 2 start

Hendricks cleared for NLCS Game 2 start

CHICAGO -- Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks passed all the tests and will start Game 2 of the National League Championship Series for the Cubs on Sunday (8 p.m. ET/7 CT, FS1). Jon Lester will open the best-of-seven series on Saturday at Wrigley Field (8 p.m. ET/7 CT, FS1), and be followed by Hendricks, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey, which was the same order the Cubs used in the NL Division Series.

Hendricks was the only question mark after taking a line drive off his right arm in Game 2 of the NLDS. He did not play catch until Tuesday in San Francisco.

"I made it clear to them I'm ready," Hendricks said Friday after a side session at Wrigley. "It was clear a couple days ago. Once I was able to get back on my normal throwing program, I was good to go. ... There's no discomfort. I'm good to go."

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 preferred to have Hendricks start at home to take advantage of his comfort level there. He finished the regular season leading the Major Leagues with a 1.32 ERA at home in 15 games (14 starts). Lester was third with a 10-2 record and 1.74 ERA in 15 games at home.

• The Cubs announced their NLCS roster Saturday, and went with 12 pitchers. Rookie Rob Zastryzny was added, replacing Tommy La Stella, who was rostered for the NLDS. In his third big league outing, the Zastryzny threw 3 2/3 innings in relief at Dodger Stadium.

"I've thrown against them before," Zastryzny said. "It's them making adjustments, me making adjustments."

He did stay up to watch the Dodgers and Nationals battle in Game 5 of their NLDS.

"I wasn't rooting for anybody -- it's not about me, it's about the team," he said.

Maddon on Dodgers' roster

• The Cubs' rotation has gotten most of the attention this season, and finished on top of the Majors with a 2.96 ERA. But the bullpen ranked sixth in the NL with a 3.56 ERA, and so far this postseason, has combined for a 3.12 ERA, giving up six earned runs over 17 1/3 innings.

"I'm never worried about the game, whether we're ahead or behind, with this bullpen," reliever Justin Grimm said Friday. "There's a lot of confidence in each of these guys. Once thing I've noticed in the playoffs and one thing I learned in the last series is you can't get caught up in things -- you can only worry about what you can control. You see [Dodgers closer] Kenley Jansen get taken out [of Game 5 of the NLDS], and realize it's all about what are we going to do to win right here at this moment. You may be hurt but you move on to the next one."

The Cubs will counter with closer Aroldis Chapman, who was 3-for-4 in save opportunities in the NLDS.

Nelson previews NLCS

"He comes in, and he's throwing 100 [mph]-plus and he has a track record of closing ballgames and making it look easier than others," Grimm said. "He's the anchor. Just get the ball to him. I think that's how he changes [the game] and he allows us more options throughout the game."

Javier Baez was the star of the NLDS for the Cubs, and is trying to take all the attention in stride.

"I've got a job to do," Baez said Friday. "I'm not surprised [by what I've done]. I know what I can do, and I know what this team can do. I'm just having fun right now and trying to win."

Baez's go-ahead RBI single

At the beginning of the year, Baez did not have a regular position with the Cubs. In the postseason, he's bumped Ben Zobrist to the outfield and taken over at second base.

"That's something I fought for, and with everything that I did on the field, I'm getting my starts now," Baez said.

Baez went to Zobrist for advice about how to play different positions during the season, and the veteran has helped the young infielder make the adjustment. He's played all of the infield positions this year. What's his best one?

"For me, right now, it's second base," Baez said. "I haven't done much at short. I've played short all my life. I have a lot of fun playing shortstop."

Watch Baez in batting practice. He's been using a turquoise-colored glove that has his sister's name, Noely, stitched on one side. She was born with spina bifida, and died in April 2015 at the age of 21.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com 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.