Chicago Cubs notes: A rainout, Patrick Wisdom’s return from injury rehab and Kyle Hendricks’ next test

Chicago Cubs notes: A rainout, Patrick Wisdom’s return from injury rehab and Kyle Hendricks’ next test

It was back in May 2017 that then-Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell tweaked the Chicago Cubs for a faulty forecast.

A Cubs-Brewers game was postponed before gates opened at Wrigley Field, and the sun later came out on a rain-free day.

“It’s the first time for us that we’ve had players treated for sunburn after a rainout,” Counsell told reporters the next day, setting off conspiracy theories about the Cubs’ reasons for the postponement.

“Obviously we got the forecast wrong,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “That goes without saying. But why would we not want to play?”

It was all part of the budding Cubs-Brewers rivalry, which Counsell continued last summer during the Roofgate episode in Milwaukee when the retractable roof of American Family Field was closed during the eighth inning of a game, upsetting Cubs manager David Ross.

Hoyer went on to become president of the Cubs and last November fired Ross and hired Counsell to a record five-year, $40 million contract.

Now the galoshes are on the other foot, and Counsell on Thursday experienced his first postponement as Cubs manager when the night game against the Miami Marlins was called off because of a forecast of rain.

There was no rain at the time, and the Marlins were still on the field taking batting practice an hour and a half after the game was officially called. Light rain did begin to fall around game time.

Thursday’s game will be made up Saturday as part of a split doubleheader, with the first game beginning at 1:20 p.m. and the second at 6:40. Javier Assad will start Game 1, and Shota Imanaga goes in Game 2.

Counsell was not made available to the media after the clubhouse closed Thursday. At least no one got sunburn.

Roster moves

The Cubs activated starting pitcher Jameson Taillon from the 15-day injured list, and his start was pushed back to Friday. Patrick Wisdom also was activated off the 10-day IL, while infielder Miles Mastrobuoni and pitcher Hayden Wesneski were optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

Wisdom was rehabbing a sprained right wrist at Iowa, where he hit .410 with three home runs, 10 RBIs and a 1.417 OPS in 27 at-bats over nine games. With Seiya Suzuki on the 10-day IL with an oblique injury, the Cubs could use a right-handed power bat and Wisdom could get playing time at third base and designated hitter. At Iowa he played three games apiece at third and first, two at DH and one in right field.

The ascension of rookie Michael Busch suggests Wisdom’s playing time at first base could be limited, while Christopher Morel’s improved defense at third could persuade Counsell to give him more time there. Wisdom might see more time at DH.

Kyle Hendrick’s status

Hendricks, who has struggled mightily through his first four starts, is scheduled to start the series finale against the Marlins on Sunday.

His 12.71 ERA was second-worst among major-league starters entering Thursday, ahead of the Colorado RockiesKyle Freeland (13.21). He was last among starters in home runs allowed per nine innings (3.71), and he’s allowing a combined .474 average (9-for-19) to the first hitter he faces in an inning.

Counsell said Tuesday he has faith Hendricks will return to form, and sticking with him Sunday is evidence of that confidence. Still, Hendricks can’t continue at this pace and expect to remain in the rotation for long, especially when Justin Steele returns.

Those who have watched Hendricks over the years know he is a notoriously slow starter with a career record of 8-16 in March/April with a 5.58 ERA. It’s by far his worst month compared with May (2.96 ERA), June (3.92), July (2.89), August (3.70) and September/October (3.03).

It’s too early to suggest Hendricks needs to be moved to the bullpen, but he surely understands a strong outing Sunday would help alleviate some concerns.