When Liam Hendriks announced that he had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in January, the odds of seeing Hendiks on the mound in 2023 seemed unlikely. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a form of cancer that begins in the lymphatic system, part of the body’s germ-fighting immune system.
But much like he does on the mound with opposing hitters, Hendriks attacked cancer head-on. The All-Star reliever said he hopes to pitch again this season and is confident he can win his battle against cancer.
Since he began treatment, there have been few updates on his status. That was until Liam Hendriks jumped on a new program called “Foul Territory,” co-hosted by AJ Pierzynski. The podcast also features former White Sox Todd Frazier.
Lance Lynn was one of their first guests, who predictably provided a very entertaining interview. However, the biggest takeaway was what he said about Liam Hendriks.
“Last time I saw Liam, to be honest, he was like, ‘this is going way better than I thought’ he looks great. He’s been throwing. I want to tell you he has one more test coming up that tells us exactly what we want to know the first of April or the end of this month. But you know Liam, Liam’s like, ‘once I’m good to go, I’ll be back in games the next day.’ And I was like, Liam, calm down.”
Lynn also said that Hendriks has been actively throwing bullpens when he feels well and will be ready whenever the White Sox give him the go. They hope to have him back in June, while Liam believes he can return as soon as possible.
While Hendrik’s timeline may be a bit optimistic, Lynn’s comments are encouraging.
“He looks good. You know he looks strong, so that’s the number one thing, and when you see a guy like that, go through it. He’s got good spirits and looks strong,” Lynn added. “So that’s a good sight to see when he comes in the clubhouse.”
His return would be a welcome addition to the White Sox bullpen. Hendriks will be entering his third season in Chicago after signing a three-year deal worth $54 million before the 2021 season. It has turned out to be one of Rick Hahn’s better signings.
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. He led the American League in saves (38), strikeouts (113), WHIP (0.73), and strikeout-to-walk ratio (16.14).
In 2022 the Australian was named an All-Star for the third straight season. His ERA went up a tick in 2022 from 2.54 to 2.81, but he still managed to log 37 saves. Hendriks has consistently been one of the best relievers in baseball over the last four seasons.
If and when he returns, tempering expectations will be important. Liam Hendriks is a stud. He is also a fierce competitor. But cancer is obviously a massive roadblock for a baseball pitcher who must prepare for a grueling 162-game schedule.
Beating cancer is a feat in itself. Getting to ring the bell will probably feel better than any save celebration he has had to this point of his career. If Hendriks turns around and is pitching this season, that would be a remarkable accomplishment.
you are a true fighter get back and be healthy
You got this Liam! Everybody’s behind you! Can’t wait to see you back!