Sunday, July 3, 2022

Liam Hendriks May Need To Undergo Season-Ending Surgery


Liam Hendriks was placed on the 15-day injured list on Tuesday afternoon with a right forearm strain. According to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, the preliminary outlook for Hendriks is three weeks.

Joe Kelly, who was just reinstated from the IL, will likely serve as the closer during that time. Kendall Graveman could see time in the ninth inning as well.

However, sources say that Hendriks may be out longer than three weeks with the threat of Tommy John surgery looming. Forearm strains tend to be one of the major red flags leading up to Tommy John surgery. The White Sox already lost one of their best left-handed arms, Garrett Crochet, due to Tommy John surgery before the season.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn addressed the timetable for Hendriks on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s a matter of how he responds to treatment over the next few days before we come up with an exact timetable. But the preliminary estimate is three weeks.”

If Hendriks can return this season it would be a huge positive for a team that has been hampered with injuries the past two seasons.

Hendriks was unavailable this past weekend and Tony La Russa did not give a reason as to why. His services would have been useful during the two of the extra-inning losses against the Texas Rangers. The bullpen was running thin and coughed up the White Sox the lead in both games.

Hendriks owns a 2.81 ERA in 25 appearances this season. He has locked down 16 saves and is striking out 12.97 batters per nine innings. His last appearance came on Friday with the White Sox nursing a five-run lead in the ninth inning. He threw a perfect inning with one strikeout.

Losing Hendriks for three weeks is a huge blow for the White Sox bullpen. If he is indeed lost for the season it could prove detrimental to their championship aspirations.

Hendriks has established himself as the best closer in baseball. The White Sox signed him to a four-year deal worth $54 million last off-season. In 2021 he was named the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year for the second straight season, becoming the first pitcher to earn the award in consecutive seasons. The Australian was also named an All-Star for the second straight season.

Hendriks led the American League in saves (38), strikeouts (113), WHIP (0.73), and strikeout to walk ratio (16.14). His numbers the past three seasons scream dominance.

Since June 21st, 2019 Hendriks has led all MLB relievers in saves (77), ERA (2.27), strikeouts (224), strikeouts per nine innings (14.50), strikeout to walk ratio (16.00), walks per nine innings (0.91), WHIP (0.76), opponent OBP (.205), opponent OPS (.518), walk percentage (.428), walk percentage (0.27) and strikeout percentage (.428).

Rick Hahn has poured a large sum of money into the bullpen. Given Bummer and Kelly’s injuries this season, he has not seen a great return on his investment. With Hendriks and Bummer on the IL, Tony La Russa will have to get creative late in games. Look for Matt Foster and Kendall Graveman to see an increased workload.

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