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Right hand tendinitis could keep Kyle Hendricks out until the second half

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Kyle Hendricks might not return before the All-Star break, the Cubs’ right-hander told reporters on Saturday. Earlier this month, Hendricks was diagnosed with tendinitis in his right hand, and underwent several MRIs this weekend that confirmed a mild strain in his middle finger. The injury isn’t severe, nor is it expected to keep Hendricks sidelined on a long-term basis, but the Cubs are playing it safe with their starter until he can work his way back to full strength.

Per Hendricks’ comments, the strain still produces a sharp pain in his middle finger when he grips the ball, preventing him from executing any pitch effectively for the time being. Prior to his setback, he went 4-3 in 11 starts, pitching to a 4.09 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 61 2/3 innings. It’s a steep drop-off from his 2.13 ERA in 2016, one that put him in the running for both NL Cy Young and MVP consideration.

A timetable has yet to be set for Hendricks’ return to the roster, and he’ll need at least one minor league rehab start before he’s cleared to reclaim his spot on the pitching staff. In his absence, the Cubs will continue to look to left-hander Mike Montgomery to handle the back end of the rotation. Montgomery earned two no-decisions in his first two starts of the year, issuing five runs on nine hits and four walks and striking out nine of 41 batters over nine innings.

Consider the Concrete Donut

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Ben Schulman wrote a long, interesting article about stadium architecture over at The Hardball Times today. He asks us to consider the old concrete donut stadiums — multipurpose parks like Three Rivers and The Vet — and to think about what we have gained by their near-extinction. And what we’ve lost.

The article starts out with what I feared would be too much misplaced nostalgia for the Brutalist, functional places that no longer exist outside of Oakland, with the now de rigueur references to astroturf and weird 1970s baseball. It backs away from that early on, though, and presents what I feel is a thoughtful look at the various approaches to building a ballpark. Stadium geeks and architecture geeks will find much to love here.

From a personal perspective, I have a love/hate relationship with newer parks. I spent a good deal of time going to places like Riverfront Stadium when I was a kid and do not miss them at all. But I also think there have been a lot of missteps in the last 25 years or so too.

Most new parks are pleasant and comfortable places to take in a ballgame, but so many of them are totally unimaginative and uninspiring from an architectural point of view. I am not fan of nostalgia, and so many of them — particularly the ones built in the 90s — were fueled by a great deal of misguided retro-ism that looks backwards. I suspect this is the case because either (a) no one had the guts or vision to look forward; and/or (b) they felt they could make easier bucks by catering to people who think everything went to hell once Eisenhower left office than by doing something bold. To be fair, there are examples of newer parks that eschew the faux old-timey vibe to greater degrees — Target Field in Minneapolis and Marlins Park in Miami come to mind — and I tend to prefer those to more backward-looking places. Again, architecturally speaking.

I think the sweet spot — and the linked article touches on this a bit — are ballparks which think bigger than the bland and dreary functionalism of the 1960s and 70s but which eschew derivative, traditionalist approaches. Parks which were built with then-modern sensibilities and saw their vision through without compromise. Dodger Stadium is a fine, modernist example of this. So too is Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, about which I wrote a few years ago. They had a great opportunity to do this in Chicago in the late 80s but muffed it. I think Marlins Park could fall into that category if (a) there is ever anything approaching memorable baseball there; and (b) if they stop being afraid of its bold aspects and stop trying to turn it into a vanilla monument to its vanilla owner. The common denominator, I suppose, is that these parks weren’t and aren’t trying to cater to the childhoods of local fans.

Anyway, good read on a slow news day.