Chicago Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks won't return in 2022, hopes to be at full strength for next season

CHICAGO -- Cubs righty Kyle Hendricks won't return in 2022 because of a slight tear in his pitching shoulder but is hopeful he'll be at full strength for the start of next season.

"We were running out of time to do a throwing schedule and make some starts," Hendricks said Monday afternoon. "Initially, we thought it would be a four-to-six-week timetable. I tried to pick up a ball after five weeks, still felt very similar."

Hendricks, 32, has been out since early July while dealing with the shoulder issue going back to May. An initial MRI indicated tendinitis, but subsequent tests, after inflammation subsided, showed a tear. Hendricks was 4-6 with a 4.80 ERA in 16 starts before being shut down.

"With the long term in mind, and seeing where we're at this season, I have to step back and see what's best for myself," Hendricks said. "I'll be able to attack a full offseason throwing program. That's where my focus is now. Very unfortunate, obviously."

Hendricks indicated it was an accumulation of work, not one pitch, that led to the injury. He led the majors in ERA in 2016 and helped the Cubs to the World Series title that year.

"I want to pitch as long as I can," he said. "This is what I do. I love it. I'm never going to stop loving it."

Hendricks will report to the Cubs' spring facility in Arizona in the coming weeks and said he wants to start throwing before the end of the regular season. He has one more year left on a four-year deal he agreed to with the team in 2019.

The nine-year veteran could be the lone remaining Cubs player from that World Series-winning team, as the club has already said it won't be bringing outfielder Jason Heyward back, while catcher Willson Contreras is set to be a free agent.

"There have been a lot of changes," Hendricks said. "A lot of turnover."